Sponsored by Maverik
clear sky
humidity: 87%
wind: 7mph N
H 54 • L 53

Vehicular manslaughter charge filed in death of Rigby woman

Crime Watch

Share This file photo

RIGBY — A manslaughter charge has been filed against a Jefferson County man who police say is responsible for the death of a Rigby woman.

Lincoln Lear, 46, has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for hitting 40-year-old pedestrian Melissa C. Nielsen on May 6, 2020. The charge indicates that Lear unlawfully, but without malice, killed Nielsen.

If convicted, Lear could face up to a year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

RELATED: Jefferson County Sheriff releases name of deceased pedestrian

Jefferson County Prosecutor Paul Butikofer said he filed the charge in the case after the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office completed their investigation.

The investigation shows that a little before 6 a.m. on the day of the crash, Nielsen was walking eastbound on 136 North in the Sandstone subdivision in Jefferson County. A 2001 Chevrolet Suburban owned and operated by Lear was traveling eastbound when it struck Nielsen.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by, Lear stated that while grabbing his phone charger from the passenger side of the vehicle, he veered off the road about a foot or so.

RELATED: Mother of four hit by car remembered for her selflessness, caring attitude

At the same time he looked back up, he hit Nielsen. The driver immediately stopped and called 911.

Lear said he was going about 20 to 25 miles per hour. Deputies arrived within three minutes of the accident and provided CPR to the victim, however, she died as a result of her injuries.

Lear and the Nielsen family are neighbors. Melissa was killed within 220 yards of her residence.

Lear is set to appear in court on June 22.

A GoFundMe has been set up as a memorial fund for the Nielsen family. Click here to donate.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.