A June 19 sentencing date has been set for two men charged with automobile homicide in a Pioneer Day crash in West Valley City that killed five people.
Alfred Katoa and Aisea Akauoloa were each charged with five counts of second-degree felony manslaughter in the July 24, 1997, crash - apparently caused because the defendants were drag-racing.Katoa, 30, and Akauoloa, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two lesser counts of third-degree felony automobile homicide. They face possible 10-year prison terms, instead of 30 years.
A sentencing date was set Monday by 3rd District Judge Stephen Henroid.
The accident occurred after a Pioneer Day rugby tournament at Granger Park where players had been drinking beer. At about 3 p.m., Katoa drove away in a mini-van, Akauoloa in a Jeep. Both vehicles were loaded with players.
The drivers began racing side-by-side, traveling about 80 mph, when they lost control and smashed head-on into a car driven by 62-year-old Helene Sherlin, according to charging documents.
The woman was killed instantly. Her husband, Bob Sherlin II, 64, died several days later.
Also killed were three passengers in Katoa's van: Amanaki Moala, age unknown, Selenito Sitani, 27, and Sione Pilivi, 17. Six other passengers in the defendants' vehicles were injured.
Tests showed Akauoloa had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11, which is higher than Utah's legal limit of 0.08. Katoa had a blood-alcohol level of 0.03, meaning he was not legally intoxicated. However, Katoa has told police he was too drunk to remember the accident.