SALT LAKE CITY — The driver in a severe high-speed crash that killed two of his friends in his car and injured a pregnant woman and her child pleaded guilty Friday.
As 19-year-old Abraham Miranda stood shackled in the courtroom, 3rd District Judge Keith Kelly asked his attorney, "Do you believe your client understands the effect and meaning of what he is about to do?"
Miranda's attorney, Greg Skordas, replied that, after talking at length, the man was prepared to move forward with the plea deal offered in the case.
The judge then asked Miranda for his plea to two counts of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
Miranda's voice shook as he quietly replied, "Guilty."
In exchange for Miranda's plea, prosecutors dismissed a charge of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.
Miranda, who was 18 at the time of the crash, admitted Friday that he was driving recklessly in the Feb. 16 crash. Miranda estimated he reached 95 mph as he drove along 300 West near West High School, a 40 mph area, when his Chevy Impala struck a median and flew into oncoming traffic.
The two passengers in Miranda's vehicle — Dylan Emilio Hernandez, 18, and Vidal Pacheco-Tinoco, 17 — were killed when the car crashed head-on into another vehicle.
The second vehicle, driven by Amy Elizabeth Stevenson-Wilson, who was pregnant, went spinning into a nearby building. An emergency cesarean section was performed by doctors to deliver Wilson's baby about six weeks early.
Wilson was hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury and 15 broken bones, and she had to have a kidney and her spleen removed, charges state, while her infant daughter will have brain damage "and trouble using her left side."
At least one witness told police it appeared the Impala was "dragging" against another vehicle. Miranda told police he "was in a hurry to get to the arcade," according to court records.3 comments on this story
Miranda's two manslaughter convictions each carry a possible maximum sentence of at least one and up to 15 years in prison, and could potentially be served back to back.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors are recommending jail rather than prison for Miranda, but the judge isn't bound to that recommendation. Miranda also agreed to pay restitution in the case, including in connection with the charge that was dismissed.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 21. Miranda remains in custody in the Salt Lake County Jail.