LOGAN — The four Clearfield-area teenagers injured in a head-on collision in Logan Canyon last summer will have the opportunity to face the man convicted of causing the crash. The victims will each be allowed to speak at Dustin W. Andersen’s sentencing, after a judge ruled that the gravity of the crash merited an in-person hearing.
Attorneys for both sides participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference. Prosecutors had requested the court allow the teenagers and others involved in the case to be present when Andersen is sentenced April 26.
The 46-year-old Tremonton man was driving a Dodge truck northeast through Logan Canyon, US-89, on the night of July 30. Near milepost 468, the truck began to skid and lose control, veering into oncoming traffic and colliding head-on with a Kia.
The car that was travelling southwest, had four teenage occupants inside. Each of them were transported to the hospital in serious and critical conditions. One of the passengers in the backseat of the car, Sarah Frei, spent two and a half weeks in the ICU and went through 20 surgeries, including a double leg amputation.
Utah Highway Patrol troopers report Andersen was heavily intoxicated and speeding. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.229 after the crash. Tire marks from his truck were estimated to be over 250 feet in length, showing he was traveling above the 50 miles per hour speed limit.
Andersen accepted a plea deal March 15, pleading guilty to four counts of driving under the influence, two third-degree felonies and two class-A misdemeanors. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a remaining DUI charge.
During Monday’s hearing, the victim’s attorney, Heidi Nestel said the case has altered the lives of the four teenagers forever. And not allowing them to face Andersen together in-person would be prejudicial, limiting their rights.
Judge Brandon Maynard granted prosecutor’s request, allowing the teenagers and some of their family to be present for Andersen’s sentencing April 26. The hearing will also be broadcast by web conference to others wishing to view it.
Andersen was booked into the Cache County Jail after the crash. He was released hours later on bail after posting $17,245 bond, angering the victim’s families, who wanted him to remain incarcerated. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.