Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to a West High School teen accused of causing a February crash that killed two of his classmates and critically injured a pregnant woman and her baby.
Abraham Miranda, 19, of Salt Lake City, appeared in court Thursday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The state also informed the court that Miranda had been offered a plea deal.
If Miranda pleads guilty, as charged, to two counts of second-degree felony manslaughter, prosecutors will dismiss a count of class A misdemeanor reckless endangerment, a prosecutor said after the hearing. The state also would recommend a year of jail time, followed by probation, though the judge would not be bound to that recommendation.
Manslaughter is otherwise punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Miranda has 30 days accept the deal, said Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Robert Neve.
Family members of the victims — 17-year-old Vidal Pacheco-Tinoco and 18-year-old Dylan Emilio Hernandez, who both died, and 32-year-old Amy Elizabeth Stevenson-Wilson, who was critically injured — are divided on what would bring justice in the case, Neve said. Some see Miranda as a teen who made a stupid mistake, he said, while others see him as the reason their family member is dead.
On Feb. 16 at about 11:30 a.m., Miranda was driving north on 300 West going about 95 mph in a 40 mph zone, charges say. Pacheco-Tinoco was in the front passenger seat of the car Miranda was driving, and Hernandez was in the back seat. The three teens were classmates at Salt Lake City’s West High School.
As they approached 700 North, Stevenson-Wilson, who was 34 weeks pregnant, was driving east and approaching the intersection, according to charges.
Miranda “attempted an evasive maneuver, struck the center median, traveled into oncoming traffic and collided” with Stevenson-Wilson’s SUV, charges say.
Stevenson-Wilson’s SUV rotated clockwise upon impact, charges say, and traveled west into a building at 721 N. 300 West.
Miranda told police that he was “going fast” because “he was in a hurry to get to the arcade,” charges state.
Stevenson-Wilson, a Utah native who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., was heading to the Salt Lake City LDS Temple that day, her brother told The Salt Lake Tribune in February.
Both Pacheco-Tinoco and Hernandez died of blunt force injuries, an autopsy revealed.
Stevenson-Wilson suffered “traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding requiring the removal of her kidney and spleen and 15 broken bones,” charges state.
Though doctors at University Hospital performed an “emergency C-section,” Stevenson-Wilson‘s baby girl had brain damage and will have trouble using her left side, doctors have said.
If Miranda does not take the plea deal, Neve said, it is not likely that the state would offer another.
Meanwhile, Miranda is to appear for an arraignment hearing before 3rd District Judge Keith Kelly on Oct. 20.