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El Salvador Man gets 15 Prison Years for DUI Accident in Salt Lake County

‘An accident that occurred earlier this year in Kearns, Utah, and left a three year old boy dead has finally reached its conclusion. The perpetrator of the crime―a 45 year old from El Salvador―has been given the maximum sentence for his DUI violation and faces deportation upon his release.

Press Release – November 13th, 2014 – A Kearns, Salt Lake County, man who was accused of killing a three year old in a drunken crash earlier this year has been awarded a prison sentence of 15 years by the Third District Court Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills. Manuel de Jesus Guinea, 45, was involved in a DUI accident on January 24th, which left 3-year-old Zane Thurber dead and injured nine other people.

The hearing was scheduled for late afternoon on Friday, November 7th. Manuel Guinea pleaded guilty to all the charges against him and expressed his sorrow for the accident. Judge Hruby-Mills then handed down the sentence after saying that she appreciated his remorse and hoped that his show of penance was genuine. Guinea had one count of automobile accident against him.

In Utah, this is a second-degree felony. According to his Salt Lake City drunk driving attorneys, Guinea had filed his plea bargain in September this year and had pleaded guilty to the charge. As part of the plea bargain, nine other charges pending against Guinea were dropped although the court did order him to pay restitution on all 10 charges that had been levied against him originally.

The accident occurred on the 24th of January, when Guinea drove his Dodge Ram through a red light at 5400 South and 1300 West. Salt Lake City drunk driving attorneys say that he was driving at around 65 mph. His erroneous driving caused a chain crash involving five other vehicles. Guinea’s pick-up truc`k rear ended a Subaru station wagon which was carrying three year old Zane Thurber. The impact of the crash caused the Subaru to collide with the car directly in front of it and it caused a chain reaction that ended with four other cars being stopped on the road and nine people injured.

Police statements also say that Guinea had initially tried to avoid detection by blending in with the bystanders at the scene but he was later detained by the witnesses and was held until the police arrived. Witnesses have also confirmed that Guinea was weaving in and out of his lane before the crash.

The court proceeding on Friday was an emotionally charged affair. Relatives from both the families―the Thurber’s and the Guineas―were in attendance and they both cried throughout the proceedings. Three of Zane’s family members talked about the devastation and the loss they suffered because one person chose to drive drunk instead of doing the right thing. Zane’s mother, Aubrie Thurber, also asked the court to order the maximum punishment for Guinea.

Guinea will now serve 15 years in prison. On finishing his prison term, he will be deported back to El Salvador where he is originally from.’