Utah driver who killed 6 gets up to 45 years for drunken crash

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HEBER CITY — A dump truck operator who killed six people while driving drunk will spend between three and 45 years in prison.

Jamie Don McKenzie, 42, of Heber City, pleaded guilty in April to three counts of automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, for his involvement in an October crash. He was sentenced Wednesday to serve between one and 15 years for each count, with the sentences ordered to be served one after another rather than at the same time.

Six people were killed and two others injured on Oct. 19 when McKenzie's truck crossed the median near Jordanelle Reservoir on U.S. 40 and vaulted over the cable barrier, according to Utah Highway Patrol troopers. The dump truck hit a pickup truck carrying six laborers traveling home from a job, crushing the cab of the pickup truck and throwing three of the men from the vehicle.

Efrian O. Cardenas, Frankie Chacon, Walter Chacon, Raul Chacon, Jose Navarro and Alan Zuniga were all killed on impact.

The dump truck also clipped a Jeep, causing the Jeep to roll upside down. Two women inside the Jeep suffered broken bones from the crash.

An open bottle of beer and an open bottle of liquor were found inside the dump truck, according to a police affidavit, and McKenzie's blood-alcohol level was determined to be 0.29 percent. McKenzie told officers he knew he had been in a crash, but could not remember the details.

He was driving a truck with a Heber City construction company logo on the door at the time of the crash.

McKenzie was initially charged with six counts of automobile homicide and two counts of DUI, a third-degree felony, but the DUI charges and half the automobile homicide charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.

In a separate case, McKenzie pleaded guilty in October to assault and intoxication and was ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and complete recommended treatment, according to court records.


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Gretel Kauffman


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