The Hurricane driver who fatally struck two California brothers Saturday near St. George as they participated in a weekend cycling event is facing multiple criminal charges, including DUI and automobile homicide, court documents show.
Just before the crash on Saturday afternoon, Adam Bullard, 49, and Matthew Bullard, 48, from Whittier, California, were cycling westbound on Telegraph Street in Washington City as they rode in the Spring Tour of St. George, according to police.
That’s when Julie Budge, 47, hit them with her Toyota Highlander in the bike lane, police said.
Witnesses began administering lifesaving measures to the unresponsive brothers, which arriving first responders continued, according to authorities. But the two men later died at an area hospital.
‘Did not have the intention of stopping’
Budge was arrested Saturday. She told officers that she was experiencing a medical issue when she swerved to the side of the road and struck the two cyclists, court documents state.
She also told police that she had not seen the cyclists and that she didn’t pull over for several hundred yards after hitting them because she could not get her car to stop, according to the documents. But a witness told police that Budge “did not have the intention of stopping,” and that she pulled her vehicle over several hundred yards away from the crash site only after he chased her down.
Budge had been admitted to the hospital the day before the wreck and was taking several medications, she told officers. She failed all field sobriety tests, according to the documents.
On Monday, Budge was charged with two counts of automobile homicide as well as two counts each of DUI and failure to remain at the scene of a fatal crash, court documents show. She also faces one count each of reckless driving and failure to stay in a travel lane.
Court records indicate that Budge was convicted of a DUI in 2015. She is being held without bail in the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane.
Brothers were ‘inseparable’
On Facebook, Matthew Bullard’s wife said that Adam was his “best friend” and posted several images from her brother-in-law’s Instagram account, @thehillslayer, with the caption, “This is how they spent their last day.”
The photos show Matthew and Adam Bullard riding through the red rocks of southern Utah, surrounded by other participants in the Spring Tour of St. George cycling event. An attempt to reach her Monday was not immediately successful.
Adam Bullard was a mechanic at Cyclery Bike Shop in southern California, according to his Instagram, and a GoFundMe campaign launched by the shop’s owner, Steve Herrera, had raised more than $21,700 as of Monday afternoon.
“Matt and Adam lived a full life, dedicated to Jesus Christ, their families, and each other,” Herrera wrote on the GoFundMe page, adding that the two men were “inseparable” and close to the finish line when they were hit.
“Each a rock star in their own right, Adam leaves behind his wife, Shannon, and son Jacob, and Matt leaves behind his wife, April, his son Michael, and his three daughters Amanda, Abby and Sarah,” Herrera continues.
Dozens of people expressed shock and heartbreak on Facebook over the news of their deaths, including many who knew the brothers through their callings and missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. People said the two were “full of wholesome mischief.”
One person who said he was Matthew Bullard’s mission companion in Texas said he would “dazzle the kids with his skateboarding tricks with his ‘church clothes’ on.” Another person said they were “good men and good examples who will deeply be missed.”
“We plead with all motorists and commuters to stay vigilant while on any roadway,” Washington City Police chief Jason Williams said in a news release Monday. “Our hearts are heavy for the families impacted by this traffic and preventable accident.”
The news release also indicated that police had initially reported an incorrect make and model for Budge’s car.
Authorities are still investigating the crash. Witnesses may contact Washington City Police at 435-986-1515.
Correction • April 12, 1 p.m.: This story has been updated to correct that the brothers were cycling in a bike lane at the time of the crash.