Woman charged with automobile homicide
May 27, 2011
Eight charges have been brought against Wyoming resident Karen Lynn Gallegos, 58, this week stemming from the drunk driving accident that killed University of Utah student Joseph "Hance" Henrie and injured three others on May 5.
Troopers said the accident happened when Gallegos drove the wrong way on westbound I-80 near Echo Junction, causing the pickup truck carrying Henrie and three others to swerve and roll off the road.
Gallegos has been charged with a second-degree felony of automobile homicide criminal negligence D.U.I. in the death of Henrie as well as three counts of driving under the influence of alcohol from injuring the driver and two passengers. Other charges include failure to remain at the accident involving death, open container and traveling the wrong way on a one-way street. According to Matthew Bates, the Prosecuting Attorney for the state of Utah, Gallegos admitted to hiding an open bottle of vodka from police, resulting in a third-degree felony charge of obstruction of justice as well.
Bates said his office is waiting for results on Gallegos’ blood test that was taken after the accident to determine how much alcohol was in her system at the time.
"The family of the deceased is obviously very shook up by this. But they are being very supportive of the prosecution and the charges that are being brought against [Gallegos]," said Bates. He was unsure if any of the family members or other victims would testify against Gallegos, but saw no reason why they would not.
Gallegos pleaded not guilty in Third District Court last week and is still being held at the Summit County Detention Center. Her bail was reduced to $10,000 and next court appearance is scheduled for June 13. She faces one to 15 years in prison. Gallegos’ lawyers could not be reached for comment.