Man charged with automobile homicide for fatal Pioneer Road crash after video contradicts driver’s story

Emergency fire and medical personnel at scene of crash on Pioneer Road, St. George, Utah, March 23, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The driver involved in a head-on crash March 23 on Pioneer Road that resulted in the death of a 90-year-old woman was charged Friday. The charges come after an accident reconstruction and investigation that called into question the driver’s account provided at the scene.

Timothy Grover Mace, 48, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

According to charging documents filed with the court, Timothy Grover Mace, 48, of St. George, has been charged with third-degree felony automobile homicide negligence – use of hand held wireless device. He was also charged with three driving infractions in connection with the crash on Pioneer Road, including driving too fast for conditions, improper use of center lane and failure to wear a seat belt.

The head-on crash was reported shortly before noon and involved a Buick driven by the elderly woman that was heading north on Pioneer Road where it was struck by a Dodge Ram 4500 repossession-style tow truck driven by Mace and heading south on the same street. The impact occurred at the curve just north of Man-O-War Road.

Mace called 911 immediately after the crash and reported that the elderly woman was trapped inside of the vehicle and was “unconscious but moving and breathing,” according to charging documents.

Emergency personnel arrived and extricated the elderly woman from the car. She was then transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where she died from her injuries a short time later.

St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin, who was at the scene on March 23, told St. George News that officers were able to determine that the Dodge crossed over the median and continued across the northbound lane, where it struck the Buick, which attempted to take evasive action by veering to the right off the shoulder.

Based on the severity of the crash, the accident reconstruction team and on-call detectives were called out. Through the course of the investigation, they interviewed Mace, who allegedly told detectives he was working on repossessions for his employer that day and was heading to a residence to check for a vehicle when the crash took place.

During the interview with police, the report states, Mace “contended he had looked in his mirror, and when he glanced back, a passenger car came out of nowhere.”

When detectives asked if he was using GPS or a cell phone at the time of the incident, Mace “emphatically said no” and said it was raining at the time the crash took place. He also told detectives there were no witnesses to the crash and that he was properly restrained at the time, the officer noted in the report.

Officers and emergency personnel respond to a head-on crash on Pioneer Road that critically injures a driver, St. George, Utah, March 23, 2020 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Evidence gathered during the accident reconstruction revealed the tow truck had crossed over the median “completely” into the northbound lane before it struck the Buick. Moreover, the truck was traveling at least 14 miles over the posted speed limit of 35 mph at the time of impact.

Officers later learned from the owner of the tow truck that video surveillance of the front of the truck, as well as from the inside of the cab, was available.

The officer noted in the affidavit that footage “clearly” showed Mace looking down at the cell phone he was holding in his right hand as the truck crossed over into the Buick’s lane of travel where it struck the passenger car head-on. Video also revealed he was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident.

On Thursday, officers arrested Mace at his residence and transported him to Purgatory Correctional Facility, where he was booked and later released on the contingency he would sign up for pretrial monitoring with the courts. Charges were filed Friday by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

The suspect is scheduled to make an initial appearance Monday in 5th District Court.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!