Man Charged in Van Crash that Killed Three Relatives

Man Charged in Van Crash that Killed Three Relatives

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man who drove a van into a concrete barrier, killing three of his family members, has been charged with homicide and driving under the influence.

In the July 25 accident, the van crossed traffic on the city's northwest side and hit head-on into the concrete edge of a bridge that goes over a canal. The van was going between 45 and 50 mph or faster, officials said. There were no skid marks, indicating the van hit without braking.

Tom Willis Coates, 59, was charged with three counts of automobile homicide, a second-degree felony. If convicted of those and the DUI charge, Coates could face up to 50 years in prison.

Killed in the wreck were Irene Jensen, Melvin Coates and Anita Coates.

Coates had served 10 days in jail in January 2000 for DUI.

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

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