Duchesne County man charged with negligent homicide

Published: Thursday, Sept. 27 2012 11:33 a.m. MDT

HEBER CITY — Prosecutors have filed misdemeanor charges against a Duchesne County man in connection with a crash that killed a passenger in his sport-utility vehicle.

Trinity Bird, 32, of Neola, is charged in 4th District Court with negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, and failure to stay in one lane, a class C misdemeanor. The charges stem from a July 6 crash on state Route 40 in Wasatch County.

Bird told Utah Highway Patrol troopers he was driving a Buick Rendezvous when he "looked away for a second" to reach for a cigarette that had fallen, according to charging documents. The SUV drifted off the road to the right and collided with a semitrailer that was parked on the shoulder of the road.

The driver of the semitrailer was not injured. Bird was taken to a hospital in Heber with injuries that were not life threatening. Two passengers in Bird's SUV, however, suffered critical injuries. 

Troopers say it is unclear whether Matthew Lucas Mecham, 26, and Ronnie Melo, 20, were wearing seat belts when the crash occurred. Both were both flown by medical helicopter from the crash site to Intermountain Medical Center.

Mecham died six days later, prompting Wasatch County prosecutors to file the negligent homicide charge against Bird.

Melo recovered from her injuries and has been released from the hospital.

A date for Bird's first court appearance has not been scheduled. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted of negligent homicide.

Geoff Liesik, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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