Driver of car that hit jogger Marva Cutler sentenced

ST. GEORGE – The driver involved in a 2011 vehicle-versus-pedestrian accident that left a jogger critically injured was sentenced in Fifth District Court Tuesday.

Marilu Angel, now 24, of St. George, was sentenced by Judge Eric Ludlow to 30 days in jail with 36-months probation, plus restitution, for leaving the scene of an accident involving a serious injury. The offense is a third-degree felony that, at its maximum, could have imposed up to five years in prison.

The accident and aftermath

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

Marva 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. Marva Cutler’s life has changed drastically since the accident, and the price of recovery and rehabilitation has left a heavy financial burden.

On June 25, Angel pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident with a serious injury. Sentencing was postponed for a time as the attorneys for both parties worked out ways to handle the restitution.

“I know Marilu is very repentant of what she has done,” Angel’s attorney, Jason Velez, said.

He retold the story his client has told police, that she had blacked out at the time of the accident and did not realize she had hit someone until after the fact. After realizing she was most likely the one who caused the accident, she contacted Velez’s office and the police.

Velez noted Angel’s driver’s license has been revoked for at least a year. He also said Angel’s cellphone was checked by authorities, and was determined not to be in use at the time of the accident. Instead, Velez said, his client’s blackout was likely caused by something medically-related.

As for Marva Cutler, Velez said, “She went from a vibrant life to a compromised one.”

Marva Cutler used to run marathons, now she walks with a limp. She has also become hard of hearing and has experienced cognitive issues involving memory. She has also had to relearn many things that used to be habit.

Cutler shared her story of recovery in detail with St. George News earlier this year.

Angel addresses the court

“I want to apologize,” Angel said, crying as she spoke. She said she couldn’t remember the accident due to blacking out, and said she had gotten out of the hospital the same week the accident occurred. “It was not my intention to do it,” she said.

“I want to apologize to (Cutler) and her family,” Angel said.

Cutler and the prosecution

“I think I want to be heard just so I can heal,” Marva Cutler said to the court. Due to the accident, she said, her mind has been altered, adding that a recent CAT scan indicated the accident may have caused a stroke, potentially explaining some of the cognitive issues she has had to deal with since.

Marva Cutler said she didn’t believe Angel passed out, but was somehow distracted. She also mentioned the financial burden her recovery had placed on her family. Just two months before the accident, she had canceled her medical insurance policy due to rising costs.

Despite what the accident has done to her, Marva Cutler said to Angel: “I want to heal and move on. I forgive you.”

“This has been hard for all involved,” Washington County prosecuting attorney, Zachary Weiland, said. “In my dealings with the Cutlers, I have learned a lot about pure love.”

He said the Cutlers did not wish to see Angel go to jail for the accident, and to that end he asked Judge Ludlow stay the 60-day jail time recommended in the case.

He also mentioned Steve Cutler, Marva’s husband, who has been by his wife’s side every step of the way as an example of “unconditional love.”

“You’re a shining example to all of us,” Weiland said to the Cutlers.

As for restitution, the lingering elephant in the courtroom, Weiland said: “Restitution is $600,000 and increasing.”

Both attorneys are working together concerning restitution as it is an amount Angel is not likely to able to be able pay anytime soon. “We’re just trying to chip away at it,” Velez said. The court has allowed an additional 90 days to resolve the issue.

Judgment

Though noting the Cutlers’ request that Angel not receive prison time, Ludlow sentenced Angel to 30 days at the Purgatory Correctional Facility, with 36-months probation attached. A hearing to revisit the matter of restitution will be held in February 2014.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

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

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5 Comments

  • Steve November 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I can’t believe she is only getting 30 days in jail. What a slap on the wrist. She fled the scene like a low life scumbag. She should have at the very least gotten a year in prison. This just lets future scumbags know they might as well try and get away. If they get caught, it’s only 30 days in jail. Oh, I forgot the probation. That will deter them. My thoughts go out for the victims family.

    • Steve November 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Sorry, I spoke to soon. I didn’t read the entire story correctly. I thought someone was killed. I will be sure to read more thoroughly from now on.

  • Steve November 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Way too soft of a sentence. The significant impact on the victim’s life, the monetary lmpact of the extensive medical bills and related care costs, the mental pain and physical suffering by the victim, the fact that the driver left the scene all scream out for a sentence longer than what this Judge ordered. This whole country is becomming devoid of consequences for ones actions.

  • Dan Lester November 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    30 days isn’t much, but the victim requested no jail time. Thanks to the judge for requiring some jail time.

  • philiplo November 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    More recently a person was killed by a driver who said they were “blinded by the glare of the sun” (though that didn’t slow them down).
    .
    Will there be a trial for THAT person? Doubtful. Why? The person killed was a bicyclist.
    .
    Maim a jogger, get 30 days; kill a cyclist get a pass.

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