The state of Utah and the families of two Colorado men killed in a 2005 head-on collision want the Utah Supreme Court to send the case of the man who caused the crash back to district court.
The victims' families believe their rights were violated regarding a plea bargain for the driver.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on this case today.
This saga began in 2005 when Brandon Lane tried to pass a semitrailer with a double trailer on Highway 40 in Duchesne County. He slammed head-on into a Jeep Cherokee carrying brothers John Hay, 60, and Dan Hay, 61, who both died, and their respective wives Patricia and Peggy, who were both seriously injured.
Lane was charged with two class A misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide and two class C misdemeanor counts of improper passing on the left. The charges were filed by then-Duchesne County Attorney Karen Allen.
Lane was permitted to enter into a plea bargain in which he got a "plea in abeyance," which means that if he complied with all orders imposed by a judge, the slate would essentially be wiped clean.
Patricia and Peggy Hay say they had been assured by Allen that Lane would plead guilty to at least one negligent homicide charge and that the Hay family would be allowed to give victim impact statements to the judge. But the Hays said they were denied these things, which violates their rights as victims.But Lane's attorney argues that his client has complied with everything the district court judge required of him, and the time for challenging a plea in abeyance has lapsed. Lane's attorney also says the victims lack legal standing to get relief from an appeals court when a district court judge eventually permitted victim impact statements from a relative and a representative for the Hays.
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