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Man who hit UVU dance student pleads guilty to DUI

Published: Monday, Feb. 7 2011 5:36 p.m. MST

Justin Thomas Hicken, 22, of Springville, pleaded guilty Monday to DUI. Police say he hit a 22-year-old dance major, severely damaging her legs.

Utah County Sheriff

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PROVO — A 23-year-old man accused of driving while high on heroin and striking a college student as she walked to a bus stop pleaded guilty to DUI Monday.

Justin Hicken pleaded guilty in 4th District Court to possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a third-degree felony. In exchange for the man's plea, the possession of a controlled substance charge was amended from a second-degree felony and a possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor, charge was dismissed.

He will be sentenced March 21. 

Police say Hicken, of Spanish Fork, crossed three lanes of traffic near a busy Springville intersection and hit Catherine Joy Smith-Warner while she was walking to a bus stop Aug. 25. A Utah Valley University dance major, Smith-Warner suffered severe injuries, including a broken tibia and shattered knee.

Smith-Warner was on her way to her first day of classes for her final semester at UVU. That day also would have been her first teaching ballet at a Springville dance studio. 

Hicken was in custody, but had his bail reduced at a previous hearing on the condition that he enter the Steps Recovery Program.

Following the accident, the man consented to a drug test and tested positive for heroin. Hicken had been in court the day before the crash on a previous charge of driving under the influence of drugs.

Emiley Morgan

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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