Booking photo for Dustin Andersen (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — A 46-year-old Tremonton man has been given the maximum prison sentence for causing a head-on collision in Logan Canyon last summer, critically injuring four Clearfield-area teenagers. Dustin W. Andersen was taken into custody by jail bailiffs following tearful pleadings from the victims and their families.
Anderson was sentenced in 1st District Court Monday morning. He previously accepted a plea deal March 15, pleading guilty to four counts of driving under the influence, two third-degree felonies and two class-A misdemeanors.
Judge Brandon Maynard said last summer’s crash was a tragic and horrific case. He ordered Andersen to serve zero-five years for each felony and 365 days for each of the misdemeanors. The sentences for the four charges will run consecutively, meaning the defendant could serve up to 12 years in prison, depending on the Utah State Board of Pardons.
Earlier, Andersen asked the court for mercy, explaining he was extremely sorry. He said, “I was blind to the reality of what my drinking could do and I never thought I could hurt anyone.”
Andersen was driving a Dodge truck northeast through Logan Canyon, US-89, on the night of July 30. Near milepost 468, the truck began to skid and lose control, veering into oncoming traffic and colliding head-on with a Kia.
The car that was travelling southwest, had four teenage occupants inside. Each of them were transported to the hospital in serious and critical conditions. One of the passengers in the backseat of the car, Sarah Frei, spent two and a half weeks in the ICU and went through 20 surgeries, including a double leg amputation.
Utah Highway Patrol troopers reported, Andersen was heavily intoxicated and speeding. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.229 after the crash. Tire marks from his truck were estimated to be over 250 feet in length, showing he was traveling above the 50 miles per hour speed limit.
Frei and the other three victims, along with some of their family members each spoke during Monday’s sentencing, asking for Andersen to be sent to prison on consecutive sentences. She described how she was a cheerleader in high school and loved riding motorcycles with her father. Speaking vividly about her injuries that have left her as a paraplegic, she noted how on the night of the crash everything changed in the blink of an eye.
Cache County Attorney James Swink asked for the harshest penalty possible, calling the defendant selfish. He fought back tears, noting how after the crash, Andersen never even tried to help the injured victims. He summarized how one man’s one choice has changed the lives of hundreds.
Judge Maynard told the victims, it was his choice to give Andersen the maximum sentence possible. He expressed hope the four teenagers will be able to heal and go forth with their lives.