Driver pleads guilty in Cutler hit-and-run case

ST. GEORGE – The driver involved in the 2011 hit-and-run case that left a jogger critically injured pleaded guilty Tuesday as the two-year-old case came to resolution.

Marilu Angel, 24, of St. George, appeared at a resolution hearing in Fifth District Court Tuesday morning and pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge of failing to remain at an accident involving a serious injury.

The charge stemmed from a June 21, 2011, accident in which Angel struck a jogger, 59-year-old Marva Cutler, of St. George, on Little Valley Road after drifting across traffic lanes; Angel hit an earthen embankment and drove away.

Cutler was critically injured in the accident and had to be airlifted by Life Flight helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. She has since undergone multiple surgeries and continues to attend physical therapy as a part of her recovery.

 St. George News recently spoke to the Cutlers about the accident and Marva Culter’s continuing recovery. The family is grateful Marva Cutler is still alive, yet added the hardest thing to deal with in the wake of the accident has been mounting medical expenses.

Jason Velez, Angel’s attorney, said his client had passed out just before the accident due to a medical condition, and wasn’t entirely coherent of factors connected with the crash at the time it occurred. According to the St. George Police Department, Angel was at the scene of the crash after emergency crews responded and tended to Cutler, yet she didn’t disclose her identity as the driver to police at the time.

With the two year anniversary of the accident passing on Friday, Zachery Weiland, prosecuting attorney with the Washington County Attorney’s Office, said he had recently spoken to the Cutler family and said they were glad to see things being resolved.

“They want closure,” Weiland said. “We’re all working to resolve this.”

Though the Cutlers have not been heavily involved in court proceedings, Weiland said he had been in regular contact with the family since assuming the case a few months ago.

Velez said his his client was also seeking closure, and added Angel’s guilty plea was a sign she was taking responsibility for what had happened.

As part of the resolution, a class C misdemeanor for failing to stay in one lane was dropped, and a pre-sentencing investigation was arranged. Velez said this was to allow his client to provide potentially mitigating evidence connected to the circumstances that led to the accident.

As well, Velez said he was in the process of identifying various sources of financial aid that could be applied to Cutler’s medical expenses as a part of Angel’s restitution.

Angel’s sentencing hearing is currently set for Sept. 3, 2013, at 10 a.m.

Related:

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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