An Ogden man who admitted drinking before getting into his car and causing a fatal five-car accident on I-15 last February was sentenced to zero to five years in prison Tuesday.
Delphine C. Payan, 25, was sentenced by 2nd District Judge Douglas L Cornaby, who cited a prior conviction for driving under the influence in 1985 as one reason Payan was sentenced to prison.Payan pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a third-degree felony, in the Feb. 28 death of David Devenport, 24, of Murray. Payan was southbound on I-15 when he apparently fell asleep while driving.
His car crossed the median and struck Devenport's vehicle head-on, killing Devenport and severely injuring his fiance. Four other vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction crash, and five other people were injured.
Payan's blood-alcohol content was measured at .12 two hours after the accident, according to his attorney, Gary Gale. The legal limit for intoxication is .08 in Utah.
Payan was originally charged with automobile homicide, a charge reduced in the plea bargain to negligent homicide.
Gale argued against sending Payan to prison, as was recommended in an Adult Probation and Parole presentence report. Payan has an alcohol problem, Gale said, but has sought counseling on his own.
He has also suffered from severe depression, Gale said, asking Cornaby to suspend the prison term and give Payan instead a short jail sentence and put him in a halfway house where he can still get counseling.
Cornaby, however, said Payan should have learned a lesson from the 1985 DUI conviction but failed to heed it.
Payan apologized to the families, saying the accident has changed his life also.
Cornaby also ordered Payan to pay $9,500 in restitution in addition to the settlement paid by his insurance company.
Devenport's parents have also filed a civil suit against Payan, seeking $500,000 in damages.