PARK CITY — A father from Nevada accused of shoving teen dancers disguised as zombies in Park City has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Drew Stephen Hyde, 56, admitted to two counts of assault, a class A misdemeanor, on Monday in Park City's 3rd District Court, according to court records.
Police said the confrontation happened Sept. 22 when a group of five dancers between the ages of 13 and 16 were dressed in full theatrical zombie makeup, playing zombies near a theater to promote Odyssey Dance Theatre's "Thriller" show.
Hyde said his family was walking to dinner on Main Street to celebrate his daughter's 16th birthday during a trip to Park City when they came across the zombies in an alley near the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main, but they didn't know about the venue or the show.
He has denied shoving them down stairs and told the Deseret News in November that he struck one of the zombies with the back of his hand and tried to kick at another because his daughter was hysterical. He said he couldn't tell the gender or age of those approaching him in the dark, and thought they were potentially on drugs.
"I didn't see children. I saw zombies," he said.
No major injuries were reported, but some of the girls had bruises and one was given ice for her cheek after being punched, according to police.
Hyde, of Henderson, Nevada, was originally charged with five counts of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor. He has said the charges cost him his job driving for Uber and he was barred from coaching youth sports in his hometown.9 comments on this story
Hyde said he felt that assault charges were overblown but he couldn't afford to remain out of work during a trial. He said he played college football, and at 6 feet 2 inches tall weighing 230 pounds, if he had truly attacked someone they would have worse injuries.
As part of his plea agreement, the other charges were dismissed. Judge Patrick Corum ordered him to write an apology letter to the teens, complete 25 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine.
If he meets those conditions within a year, the charges will be dismissed under the terms of the pleas held in abeyance, court records show.
Odyssey Dance Theatre has said it directs zombies to circulate among patrons and if their presence is not welcomed, to withdraw.