Dump truck driver arrested for DUI after six people killed in Utah crash
Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com
Published at | Updated at
HEBER CITY, Utah (KSL.com) — Court documents identify the driver of a dump truck involved in a “horrific” crash that killed six men on U.S. Highway 40 near Jordanelle Reservoir Friday.
Jamie Don Mckenzie, 41, was arrested and booked into the Wasatch County Jail on suspicion of six counts of automobile homicide, two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, reckless driving, open container of alcohol in a vehicle on the highway, unsafe lane travel and speeding, according to jail records.
Mckenzie was driving a dump truck west on the highway when the truck crossed a median and crashed into a pickup truck driving in the other direction, jail records indicate.
The dump truck then landed on top of the pickup after the collision.
The driver of the pickup truck, Efrain Cardenas, 62, died in the crash, according to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Lawrence Hopper. Five other men in the pickup truck also died on scene. Three of the men were ejected and the three others died in the vehicle.
Their injuries were so severe, authorities are still working to determine their identities, jail records state.
“I think horrific is the best way to put it,” Hopper said describing the scene. “There’s little left of that pickup truck.”
Shortly after the initial collision, a Jeep trying to avoid the crash lost control and rolled, coming to rest in an embankment about 50 feet from the dump truck.
Dallas McCullough and her mother were inside the Jeep and were transported to Park City Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, UHP officials said.
“I’m definitely shaken up,” McCullough said from her Salt Lake home Saturday afternoon. “I got out, and the car was covered in blood. I have no idea how we survived it.”
McCullough said the roof of the Jeep was destroyed, and the windows were shattered.
“We were the only things in the car that wasn’t destroyed,” she said. “It’s unfair. Like, I get to wake up and my family is totally fine. I’m fine and my mom is fine. (The families of the men) are all waking up with one less family member.”
Hopper said officials believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash after they found open alcohol containers and prescription pills inside the dump truck. A witness on scene told troopers they saw the dump truck swerving across the lanes at about 70 to 75 mph, before crossing the median, jail records show.
Mckenzie was transported to a hospital for toxicology tests, but wasn’t cooperative with authorities on scene, according to jail records. He told troopers at the hospital that he knew he had been in a crash, but didn’t remember details.
The trooper interviewing Mckenzie said he could smell alcohol on his breath, jail records state. McKenzie told officials he had some whiskey the night before, but had not had anything to drink that day.
Mckenzie was booked into the Wasatch County Jail after he was released from the hospital.
This article was originally published by KSL.com. It is used here with permission.