A Utah teenager may escape prosecution for causing fatal injuries to a 60-year-old bicyclist whom she struck on a roadway in Draper, Utah. The accident happened at night, in a presumably unlit stretch of road. The teenage driver didn’t report the accident until the following day, when her mother became suspicious after the police issued a plea for information on the incident and she noticed the damage to their 2004 Dodge 1500 pickup.
The teenager told police she thought she had struck a mailbox, which accounted for the damage to the corner of the vehicle and windshield. She didn’t stop to see what she had struck and said she didn’t see anyone lying in the road. The victim had been thrown off the road after the collision and into brush, where he was eventually found.
The Accused Claims She Didn’t Realize She Struck the Bicyclist
The police and prosecutors may not charge the teen with fleeing the scene of a fatal accident, a Class 3 felony in Utah. Since the accident occurred on a rainy night and the victim was thrown off the roadway and into the brush where it was difficult to see him, the teen’s assertion that she had no idea she had struck someone sounded plausible to the police. She was also on her way to see someone her parents hadn’t wanted her to visit, so her fright in having struck something that damaged the vehicle and wanting to leave the scene immediately may have also seemed reasonable considering these circumstances. The police also had no witnesses to the accident.
While it may seem unlikely to some that the teen driver failed to see the person she struck and may have been distracted at the time by either texting or talking on a cell phone, there was no evidence of this. The prosecutors believe her story is credible given the circumstances she described.
Teenagers and children who commit crimes may be unaware of the consequences of their actions or their legal rights. Parents who suspect that their child has or may have committed a crime are urged to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at their earliest opportunity. Serious cases can result in your child being tried as an adult. Having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent your child is essential to ensure they are treated fairly and within the dictates of the law.