“He was the perfect father for a little girl....letting me play dress up [with him] and paint his nails. And now I’ll never get to see him again. I couldn’t even see my dad’s face one last time due to how his body looked,” Viridiana Cardenas told the court. Her father, Efrain, was one of six men killed in a horrific accident caused by an impaired driver in October 2018.
On Wednesday, May 29, Jamie McKenzie, 42, of Heber City received three consecutive sentences of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison for the six deaths he caused on October 18, 2018 when the dump truck he was driving under the influence crossed the median on Highway 40 near Mayflower, crushing the pick up truck the six men were riding in.
McKenzie was convicted on three Felony-2 counts of Automobile Homicide Negligence - DUI with Alcohol or Drugs. If he serves the maximum sentence, the 42-year-old could be incarcerated for up to 45 years.
Trooper Johnathon Boyd of the Utah Highway Patrol said he was a first responder that day. “[As first responders] we live with these events everyday. When you look at your colleague’s eyes, you can see the enormity of the situation...this one was one of the worst I’ve ever seen.” he told the court.
Case Wade, the prosecuting attorney said in his closing remarks, “Members of our community saw first hand the carnage that took hours to clean up. One of the worst calls from dispatch I listened to was a 13-year-old boy that was at the scene. Dispatch asked him, ‘Did anyone make it out ok?’ He responded, ‘The only one I saw out of the accident was one man cut in half.’ ... For a child, a boy of 13 to have to see this....[Jamie] must have severe accountability for those actions.”
McKenzie read a statement he had prepared to the court. The statement said, in part, “This is addressed to family and friends of the victim and also to the community. I am so sorry for the heart ache I have caused by my actions... I pray you can find some peace. I hope this will be a wake up call for other alcoholics as it has been for me.”
Judge Jenifer Brown said prior to sentencing McKenzie, “There are consequences to actions. Under the circumstances, I can not envision rendering any other verdict, but the maximum allowed by law. I don’t believe justice will be serviced with any other sentence.”