When you consume alcohol and end up in an accident where people die, that's not an accident, that's the expected outcome. I believe that he (Mumford) now appreciates the gravity of the harm that's been caused. —Tooele County Attorney Doug Hogan
TOOELE — A man accused of causing an accident that killed a Farmington mother and her two daughters appeared in court Monday to face three counts of murder.
Paul Mumford, 36, of West Jordan, is charged in connection with the July 4 crash that killed Delphine John, 44, and her daughters Delilah Ramirez, 20, and 3-year-old Anaya Adame Orozco. Mumford is accused of driving east in the westbound lanes on I-80 while under the influence and causing the crash that also left Jose Fidel Adame-Orozco, 36, with a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and a broken leg.
The charges against Mumford were read aloud to him in 3rd District Court Monday. He faces three counts of murder, a first-degree felony. Alternative charges of manslaughter and automobile homicide, second-degree felonies, were also filed. He is also charged with DUI, a third-degree felony, and reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.
Utah Highway Patrol troopers believe each vehicle was traveling about 80 mph at the time of the crash. Neither showed signs of braking prior to impact.
At the hospital later, Mumford told investigators that he had been gambling in Wendover for a couple of hours and had a few beers prior to getting in his truck, charging documents state.
"Mr. Mumford stated that he left Wendover and must have fallen asleep. He did not remember anything about the accident," according to the charges.
Mumford then asked the trooper if anyone had been hurt or died in the crash. When the investigator told him yes, he stopped answering his questions and asked for an attorney, the charges state.
Tooele County Attorney Doug Hogan said Monday that his office is confident it can prove the murder counts, but he filed the alternative charges to give a potential jury additional options.
"For the three fatalities, we've charged them in the alternative, which gives us a lot of room to work on this case," Hogan said. "We believe that we can show that the murder count fits for each of the victims. However, if this were to go to trial, it does give us a little bit of flexibility if the jury for some reason didn't agree with us. They would have another count to fall back on."
Mumford indicated Monday that his family was going to hire an attorney, prompting Judge Robert Adkins to set another hearing on July 29. Hogan said if Mumford doesn't have an attorney at that time, it's likely the judge will appoint one to represent the man.
Hogan said he often hears the phrase "tragic accident." While this crash was a tragedy, it was no accident, he said.
"When you consume alcohol and end up in an accident where people die, that's not an accident, that's the expected outcome," Hogan said. "I believe that he (Mumford) now appreciates the gravity of the harm that's been caused."
Mumford apparently also had to ask police questioning him about whether there had even been an accident. Hogan said the man sincerely seemed to be unable to recall what happened the night of the crash.
"But I do believe he knows he was driving his car; I do believe he knows he got behind the wheel and I believe that he knew that he had consumed alcohol," the prosecutor said. "It's tragic not just for the family that was almost completely obliterated, but I understand that he (Mumford) has children, he has a spouse — though they may be estranged. At this point, it's a tragedy for both families."
Contributing: Steve Landeen
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