Driver in fatal Kamas crash remains in custody on $100,000 bail
November 13, 2015
Randon Kenneth Robertson, the 20-year-old Kamas man charged with automobile homicide in the death of a fellow South Summit High School alum, initially denied his involvement and claimed to be asleep at the time of the accident, according to court documents.
When an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation questioned Robertson the morning of the crash, he claimed to have been sleeping and that someone must have taken his truck. He filed a stolen vehicle report with a Kamas City police officer. However, he later admitted to being the driver and leaving the scene of the crash on Mirror Lake Highway that took the life of Larry Paul, 28, of Kamas.
At a bail hearing Monday, Robertson requested that his bail be reduced from $100,000. Matt Bates, Summit County prosecutor, objected and said Robertson should remain in custody because he is a "danger to the community" based on his extensive history of alcohol-related offenses. At the time of the accident, Robertson was an alcohol-restricted driver without a valid license.
Robertson has pled guilty to two charges of a minor in possession and has two open cases and active warrants in other counties. The Third District Court in Salt Lake County issued a $25,000 bench warrant for his arrest last week, where he has a pending case stemming from an alleged assault against a police officer in 2014.
Robertson is also on probation for driving under the influence in Tooele County. He pled guilty in May. Tooele County recently issued a $1,250 warrant for Robertson because he failed to appear at a review hearing on Oct. 9.
"He has a history of alcohol abuse, we know there was alcohol consumed and very reckless driving that ended up killing someone," Bates said. "I don’t want him out running around because he is facing some serious felony charges that will likely carry some incarceration time."
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According to court documents, on Oct. 24 at around 4 a.m. the Utah Highway Patrol and Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a single-vehicle accident near mile marker 2 on State Road 150 (Mirror Lake Highway). Law enforcement officials found a grey Nissan Titan resting on its roof. Two cases of beer and other debris were scattered on the side of the road.
Officers found Paul, a 2006 South Summit graduate, in the weeds on the side of the road with significant head trauma consistent with being ejected from a vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Robertson and another passenger, Logan Brown, 18, of Kamas, walked back to Robertson’s house.
At approximately 7 a.m., agent Brandon Davis, with the State Bureau of Investigation, went to Robertson’s home to question him about his involvement in the accident. Documents state he had a "strong odor of alcohol" and "fresh road rash on his shoulder that was still bleeding."
After Davis questioned others in the home and learned of his involvement, Robertson admitted that he was driving and had been drinking. He said he was driving "very fast" and took a turn too sharply while looking and yelling at Paul. He overcorrected, causing the truck to roll.
According to Brown’s statements to police, on the night of the crash Robertson’s mother had tried to stop the three from leaving because Robertson was "too drunk" to drive. Brown said Robertson was speeding and reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour despite his pleas for him to slow down.
Brown, who is currently a South Summit student, has been charged with obstruction of justice, a Class A misdemeanor. He was released after posting $2,500 for bail. His next court appearance is in December.
Judge Paige Petersen ordered Robertson’s bail to remain $100,000 cash-only, even though a relative of the victim spoke on his behalf. His next court date is Nov. 23.
"She got up at the bail hearing and asked the judge to release Randon Robertson," Bates said. "I’ve never had a homicide where the victim’s family is in the corner with the defendant."
Bates said the court is waiting for the results of Robertson’s toxicology report to determine if he can be released with conditions, such as an ankle bracelet for alcohol monitoring.
"This sort of case gets priority in our office. The county attorney and I are handling this and we feel there needs to a substantial period of incarceration," Bates said. "He has had ample opportunity to take advantage of programs and incentives to stop his alcohol abuse and he hasn’t taken advantage of them. Now someone is dead because of it. At this stage it is too early to say how much jail time or what the ultimate resolution will be, but we are looking for a substantial period."
Robertson has been appointed public defenders John Johnson and Paul Quinlan. Quinlan said neither he nor Johnson expected Robertson’s release given the facts of the case.
"We understand the serious nature of the offense and Judge Petersen had to put community safety needs first. Going forward we are planning on having a sitdown with Bates and Hilder to discuss the matter and see if there is a potential to negotiate release conditions," he said.
Quinlan said Petersen also expressed concern for Robertson’s state of mind and any potential he may have to hurt himself.
"He is fragile," Quinlan said. "He is extremely remorseful and cognizant of what he is charged with and the serious nature of what he is facing. But all things considered, he is doing pretty well."
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