PRICE — A Price woman has pleaded guilty to hitting and killing a construction company employee while driving under the influence of drugs.

Jamie Lynn Mercurio, 31, was initially charged with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, in the Aug. 4 death of Aaron Simms. She pleaded guilty Wednesday in 7th District Court to the same charge, though it was reduced to a third-degree felony.

Simms, 31, of Price, worked for Nielson Construction. He was pulling weeds in front of the company's offices on Ridge Road in Wellington when Mercurio hit and killed him, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

Two days later, another Nielson Construction employee was hit and killed by a motorist. 

Linda Potter, a construction flagger, was carried about 250 feet after she was struck in a work zone on Aug. 6 about 1:30 a.m. The driver of the pickup truck that hit her didn’t stop or slow down, troopers said. Potter, 54, of Castle Dale, died at the scene.

Luke Shroyer, 28, of Huntington, was arrested by Emery County sheriff's deputies about 20 miles away. He told them he thought he'd hit a deer, according to investigators. A trooper performed a field sobriety test, and a blood draw confirmed a 0.119 blood-alcohol level, the UHP said. The legal limit in Utah is 0.08. 

Shroyer is charged in 7th District Court with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, and failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a class A misdemeanor.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for March 16.

Mercurio is due back in court April 2 for sentencing. She faces up to five years in prison and a possible fine of $5,000.

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