A Midvale man was ordered to spend a year in jail for the vehicle homicide of a Murray police officer.
Kelly Lloyd Ray, 27, who was drunk the night of Nov. 13, 1987, when his pickup struck Officer Jackson Elmer, must report to the Salt Lake County Jail on Tuesday morning to begin serving his time.Following the jail term, which was a condition of probation, Ray must remain on probation for 18 months; pay all funeral and medical expenses incurred by the victims' families; reimburse Murray City for damaged property; pay the Legal Defenders Association $1,500; and pay a $2,500 fine.
Elmer was hit by a northbound pickup truck while investigating a stalled car at 5530 S. State the night of Nov. 13, 1987. Officer Robert Hall, who was assisting Elmer, was also hit by the truck. The truck carried Elmer about 200 feet. He was dead when emergency personnel arrived. Hall suffered a dislocated shoulder and numerous cuts and bruises.
Ray fled the scene but was apprehended a few hours later after his passenger told police who was driving the truck. A blood test determined Ray's blood was 0.13 percent alcohol, well above the 0.08 percent limit allowed by law.
Pam Elmer, the officer's widow, was unimpressed with the sentence, handed down Friday by 3rd District Judge Richard Moffat.
"I'm not pleased with the decision," she said, fighting back both anger and tears. "I'm glad it's over. That's about the only good that can come out of this. . . . Now I can put this behind me and get on with my life."
Salt Lake County Deputy Attorney Glenn Iwasaki asked Moffat to send Ray to prison, arguing that prison is an appropriate punishment and also sends a strong message to others who might drink and drive.
"The family (of the victims) and society need to exact some sort of punishment from Mr. Ray," Iwasaki said. "The message needs to be crystal clear . . . if you drink and drive, you may kill somebody, and if you kill someone, you will go to prison."
But the judge sided with defense attorney Andrew Valdez's arguments that Ray has rehabilitated himself, expressed remorse and doesn't belong in prison. Valdez's recommendation for jail rather than prison was the same contained in a presentence report prepared by Adult Probation and Parole.
Valdez said his client was extremely remorseful and has taken steps - such as speaking to youth groups about the dangers of alcohol - to attempt to pay back society for the loss of the police officer.
Ray, speaking on his own behalf, said, "I want the family to know how sorry I am. . . . I didn't mean to kill anyone. I'm especially sorry for the children, that they don't have a dad anymore. And I hope I'll be forgiven."
Ray pleaded no contest in September to vehicle homicide, a third-degree felony, and failure to stop at an injury accident, a Class A misdemeanor. In exchange for the pleas, two other misdemeanors were dismissed.