Man charged with automobile homicide after Riverton woman dies in October crash

File photo: Gephardt Daily

WASHINGTON CITY, Utah, Aug. 12, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Highland man has been charged with automobile homicide after a five-vehicle chain-reaction crash on State Route 9 in which a Riverton woman died on Oct. 12, 2019.

An indictment from Washington County Attorney’s Office said Christopher Weaver, 38, has been charged with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, and speeding, an infraction.

The multi-vehicle collision occurred at about 11:44 a.m. near milepost 1.2, at the intersection of SR-9 and Telegraph Street in Washington City.

The Utah Highway Patrol and Utah State Bureau of Investigations took the lead in the investigation, the indictment said.

“Officers learned from several witnesses on scene that defendant was traveling in a black Ford truck eastbound on SR-9 at a high rate of speed when approaching the intersection with Telegraph Street,” the indictment said. “There were several eastbound vehicles stopped at the traffic light when the defendant approached from behind at a high rate of speed and struck a Mazda 3 passenger car.”

The impact pushed the Mazda into the vehicle stopped in front of it. The impact forced the Mazda into the rear of a Chevy Silverado, which then struck a Toyota Tacoma.

As the Mazda was spun by the impact, it hit a Toyota Highlander that was in the right lane.

“The driver of the Mazda, Kylie Park, 20, was severely injured in the crash and subsequently died,” the indictment said. “A report from the Office of the Medical Examiner concluded that Park died from multiple blunt force injuries as a result of the traffic accident.”

The defendant was taken to the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for treatment of minor injuries sustained in the crash. Officers learned that the defendant was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown into the windshield of his truck during the crash.

“While at the hospital, officers interviewed the defendant,” the indictment said.

Weaver said that just prior to the crash, he was headed to the Chevron at the corner of SR-9 and Telegraph Street and then on to his workplace further north on U.S. Highway 91. To get to the Chevron or his workplace would require defendant to enter the left-hand turn lane at the intersection and turn left on U.S. Highway 91, the indictment said.

“The defendant, however, impacted the Mazda in the number one eastbound lane on SR-9,” the indictment said. “The defendant told officers he did not know what lane he was in upon impact. When asked if he had blacked out, the defendant told the officers that he believed he had blacked out, although he was able say the car he hit was gray.”

Weaver also said he had problems with his brakes. A crash study was conducted following the incident and confirmed that there was excessive wear to the brakes on the defendant’s truck. The study also showed the defendant was traveling at a high rate of speed of 72 mph in a 60 mph zone prior to impact. He began to brake just prior to impact, hitting the Mazda at 57 miles per hour.

“The defendant told officers that he was taking the drug Gabapentin at the time,” the indictment said. “He consented to a blood draw to obtain a sample for testing. That sample was taken 3-and-a-half hours after the crash. The resulting toxicology report was negative for the Gabapentin but positive for Oxycodone at 46 nanograms per milliliter.”

The defendant had a prescription for Oxycodone but had not been given that medication at the hospital on the day of the crash, the indictment said. His estranged wife told officers during the investigation that “the defendant had an addiction to prescription medication and had planned on attending substance abuse counseling,” the indictment said.

Officers were unable to find any evidence of distractions that would have contributed to the defendant crashing into the Mazda.

A date for Weaver to appear in court has yet to be set.


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