ST. GEORGE — The man involved in an ATV-dirt bike crash that resulted in the death of a teen from Santa Clara has been charged by the Washington County Attorney with a simple negligence charge of automobile homicide, a third-degree felony.
Makay Thomas Stephens, 27, from Brookside, was taken to jail Sunday, after the ATV Stephens was driving hit the back of a dirt bike driven by Austin Brett McElyea, 17 of Santa Clara. McElyea had stopped in the road and Stephens didn’t stop, according to a Utah Highway Patrol press release.
In the probable cause statement filed by Trooper Mike Murphy in support of the arrest, he said that McElyea was ejected from the bike; although the teen was wearing a helmet, the trooper reported it was not secured properly and it was torn from his head.
A passerby began CPR which was continued once medical personnel showed up. Life Flight also arrived, but McElyea did not respond and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
One of the troopers on scene smelled alcohol on Stephen’s breath, the probable cause statement said, and after asking Stephens about it, Stephens said he’d been drinking. Stephens admitted to drinking “less than twelve beers,” it said.
Stephens failed field sobriety tests and submitted to a blood test, Murphy said in his statement. He was then taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for medical clearance before being taken to jail.
Although his arrest showed a charge of “DUI prior felony homicide” on the Washington County Sherriff’s booking Web page, Stephens was ultimately charged with a simple-negligence third-degree felony charge of automobile homicide. The case was filed by the Washington County Attorney Monday and Stephens is expected to make his first appearance next week for purposes of ensuring representation of counsel and the like before the case proceeds.
Stephens is out on bail, Deputy County Attorney Ryan Shaum said.
Since 2003, Stephens has been a defendant in 10 cases across the state; nine of those were misdemeanor cases and one was a felony case. In Stephen’s one previous felony case he was found guilty of 1st-degree and 3rd-degree felony possession of a controlled substance.
His misdemeanor cases involved several incidents of unlawful possession, consumption or purchase of alcohol or controlled substance by a minor, a failure to appear, as well as several traffic citations such as speeding and driving on a revoked or suspended license.
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