Court documents name dump truck driver booked in deaths of 6 in Wasatch County collision

Six people died on impact when a dump truck crossed the median, vaulted over the cable barrier, and collided with a Dodge Ram pickup truck on State Route 40 in Wasatch County, on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The dump truck's driver is facing six counts of automobile homicide and possible charges of DUI. Photo: Utah Highway Patrol

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 21, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A probable cause statement released late Saturday identifies the man booked into the Wasatch County Jail in connection with the deaths on Friday of six people in a pickup truck.

The statement names the driver of the dump truck that crushed the pickup as Jamie Don McKenzie, 41. He has been booked on initial charges of suspicion of:

  • Six counts of automobile homicide, negligence — DUI, a second-degree felony
  • Two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury by negligent operation, a third-degree felony
  • Open container in a vehicle on a highway, a class C misdemeanor
  • Reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor
  • Unsafe lane travel, an infraction
  • Speeding, an infraction

On Saturday afternoon, the Utah Highway Patrol confirmed the name of the victim who was driving the pickup as Efrain O. Cardenas, 62, of Salt Lake City.

Cardenas and five other adults in the 2002 Dodge pickup, died at the scene, apparently on impact, according to charging documents. Three of them were ejected, and three were trapped inside the pickup when it was crushed by the dump truck that crossed the State Route 40 median and broadsided the smaller truck.

The five other victims killed will have to be identified by the medical examiner, possibly through the use of DNA, according to information from the Utah Highway Patrol.

In addition, a teenage girl and her mother were injured when they tried to avoid colliding with the larger crash and flipped their Jeep, which landed on its roof. The two were treated for serious injuries that were not life-threatening.

The Probable Cause statement

The court statement filed in McKenzie’s case provides previously unreleased details in the case. The account was given by Utah Highway Patrol Coalville Trooper Jonathan Boyd, who said a Park City Police officer who arrived earlier found McKenzie inside the dump truck.

“Jamie Mckenzie was transported to Heber Valley Hospital for his injuries sustained in the crash,” Boyd’s statement says.

“In the dump truck UHP Sgt. Neil Ekberg located open containers of alcohol (one beer and one bottle of liquor). Around 1300 hours, I arrived at Heber Valley Hospital and spoke with Jamie Mckenzie in the emergency department.”

Boyd said he told McKenzie he was not obligated to talk about the crash, and asked and received permission to record any conversation that followed, the statement says.

“Jamie agreed to speak to me and I activated my recorder. Jamie told me he was driving a dump truck to Brown’s Canyon from Glenn Wild with a load of dirt. He knew he was in a crash but said he did not remember details of the crash. I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. He denied drinking any alcohol.

“I asked if he would consent to a blood draw to determine the alcohol content of his body and he refused. I told him that if he refused that I would apply for a search warrant and if it was obtained we would draw his blood to determine his alcohol content. Jamie told me to get the warrant.”

The officer did and returned after 2 p.m. with the warrant, showed it to McKenzie, and had the blood drawn and entered into evidence.

“Jamie McKenzie was released from the care of the hospital. Hospital staff were informed by me at that point that I would be taking Jamie into custody.”

McKenzie was diagnosed with multiple facial lacerations and alcohol intoxication, the statement says.

“I told Jamie McKenzie to place his hands behind his back and he complied. I placed him into handcuffs and told him that he was under arrest for driving under the influence and for the homicide of four people (at the time officers at the scene had not uncovered two addition people that had died trapped in the pickup truck under the dump truck Jamie was driving).”

Boyd read McKenzie his Miranda Rights, which the suspect said he understood.

“I transported him to the Wasatch County Jail. Jamie told me that he had been drinking alcohol last night and had not had any alcohol today. I asked him what kind of alcohol he was drinking and he said whiskey. I asked him about the open containers of alcohol in the truck we found and he said they were in his lunch box but he hadn’t had lunch today. He was remanded to the custody of the Wasatch County Jail.”

McKenzie is being held without bail, as recommended by Boyd.

“The person would constitute a substantial danger to any other person or to the community, or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court,” Boyd’s comments say.

“Based on the charges and the suspect’s criminal history I believe he would pose a serious risk if allowed to return out into the community.”

McKenzie pleaded guilty in 2006 to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.



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