Salt Lake County Jail
Lawrence Probert

WEST JORDAN — A driver whose truck plowed through an intersection in Herriman, killing an infant girl, paralyzing his passenger and critically injuring others, has been charged with manslaughter, DUI and other felonies in connection with the crash.

Lawrence Probert, 26, of Kearns was charged 3rd District Court Friday with one count of manslaughter and two counts negligent driving resulting in death or injury, both second-degree felonies.

Witnesses told investigators Probert's truck was travelling between 90 and 120 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to charging documents. Despite the high speed, Probert still could have stopped with more than 300 feet to spare after the light had turned red 7 1/2 seconds earlier, according to police calculations detailed in the charges.

"Instead, Probert entered the intersection without an attempt to brake or slow down," charges state.

Following the crash, Probert was "combative" toward officers and was spitting blood at paramedics, charges state. He told emergency medical technicians he had smoked meth earlier in the day, and an early toxicology report showed his blood tested positive for methamphetamine, prosecutors allege.

Markessa Howick, 24, a passenger in Probert's truck, was thrown into northbound lanes and was paralyzed from the waist down, also sustaining rib fractures, a punctured lung and a fractured ankle, charges state. Her dog, which was also tossed from the truck, lost an eye.

Howick told detectives she had repeatedly asked Probert to slow down or stop and let her out, but he continued.

Five-month-old Alice Skankey died of blunt trauma to her head and neck in the crash, according to the charges. The collision left her 2-year-old sister, Yuki, with critical injuries.

Probert's GMC pickup truck slammed first into the Dodge Dakota in an eastbound lane at the intersection at the Mountain View Corridor and Rosecrest Road (13400 South) about 7 p.m. Monday. The dodge's driver, Lucien Neuman, 34, was hospitalized with critical injuries that included cuts to his spleen and several broken bones. The truck then hit the Skankey family's minivan in a westbound lane, charges state.

Police initially struggled to pinpoint exactly how and when each car was hit because the impact was so great, Unified police said.

Two minutes before the crash, other drivers reported to emergency dispatchers that a reckless driver in a pickup truck was heading north on Mountain View Corridor. A witness who was driving on the road when Probert's truck passed her car called 911, saying he passed them "like they were standing still" and that his truck came close to "sideswiping" other northbound cars, charges state.

Tonya and Bryce Skankey, parents of the infant, were released from the hospital Wednesday with 2-year-old Yuki, according to Bryce Skankey's father, Robert Skankey. They are expected to make a full recovery, he said.

Probert was also charged Friday with a third-degree felony count and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence; plus animal cruelty, a class C misdemeanor; and threatening a health care or emergency service worker, a class A misdemeanor.

He was booked into Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday following his release from the hospital, where he was treated for serious injuries he sustained in the crash. Parole officers monitored Probert as he recovered in the hospital in light of an active warrant for his arrest at the time of the crash.

Probert has a history of theft, drug-related and DUI convictions, state court records show.

3 comments on this story

In 2016, Probert pleaded guilty to drug possession, a class B misdemeanor, in 4th District Court in Provo, and was sentenced to probation, according to court records. But in December, he was ordered to appear in court for violating the conditions of his probation, including not completing a drug treatment evaluation. When he failed to show up to court on Feb. 7, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He violated his probation in 2015 and 2017, and was ordered to jail the first time and drug treatment the second.