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Meth Linked to Crash that Killed Two Children

Meth Linked to Crash that Killed Two Children

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man accused of running over and killing two children and injuring a third as they played in their driveway was returning from a methamphetamine house when he lost control of his vehicle, according to court documents.

A family member of Michael Joseph Whitton told investigators the man was "returning from a meth house at the time of the accident," according to the search warrant affidavit filed Thursday in state court.

"Whitton's behavior at the scene before being transported to LDS Hospital was consistent with intoxication," the affidavit stated. The affidavit was filed by investigators seeking to search the vehicle that Whitton was driving at the time of the incident.

Whitton is so "very, very distraught" over what happened that his lawyer says he fears for Whitton's mental state.

Attorney Stan Adams said Thursday that Whitton was so tearful and upset during a jail visit that Adams chose not to discuss the details of the incident with him.

Whitton, 19, made an initial court appearance by video Thursday from the Salt Lake County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 20.

Whitton is charged with two second-degree felony counts of automobile homicide, one third-degree felony count of driving under the influence and a misdemeanor count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

Police say Whitton was driving south in Taylorsville on Sept. 18 when his vehicle crossed the median, went into oncoming traffic, jumped the curb and veered into the driveway of a home, hitting three children who were playing there.

Jorge Almeida-Robles, 9, and his sister, Yanira J. Robles, 4, were dead at the scene. Their brother, Christopher Robles, 6, is recovering at a hospital.

Court documents state Whitton had alcohol, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, opiates and cannabinoids in his system. Adams said that during a jail visit with Whitton, Whitton wanted to "convey his sorrow to his family" and also to the Robles family. Whitton's family also is deeply upset and is trying to convey its support to the Robles.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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