Steven Alan Peterson has pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of reckless driving in a high-speed rollover in which two boys not wearing seat belts were killed.
Peterson, 20, initially was charged with negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, for failing to buckle up Kalieb Winter, 2, and Skyler Peterson, 7, both from Orem and no relation to the driver.Peterson faces as many as six months in jail when 7th District Judge Bruce Halliday sentences him Sept. 28.
"We are sickened by it. No one can believe it," said Kalieb's grandmother, Robyn Winter of Colorado Springs, Colo., of Monday's plea deal.
Early on June 11, 1997, Peterson was driving a 1968 VW bus belonging to his friend, Amadee Lee Shell, 32, the boys' mother.
While traveling an estimated 80 mph down U.S. 6 in Price Canyon, Peterson lost control and the vehicle rolled. The boys, who were sleeping, were ejected, according to a police report.
Deputy County Attorney George Harmond said he would have preferred to have charged Peterson with a felony, but negligent homicide was the harshest statute available under Utah law.