TOQUERVILLE – The driver of a vehicle that went off the roadway near Toquerville Falls into a 100-foot ravine sometime Sunday night, leaving one woman dead, has been arrested Wednesday on an array of charges as a result of the collision.
Mark James Wyler, 21, of St. George, is facing two class A misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and driving under the influence, two class B misdemeanors for an out-of-state warrant and driving on a suspended driver’s license, and a class C misdemeanor for improper lane travel, according to booking information.
Emergency responders were dispatched to the area of Spring Drive, a dirt road between state Route 17 and Toquerville Falls recreation area, after a call for help came in sometime after 6 a.m. Monday, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Wyler called 911 to report he had rolled his black Chevrolet Blazer and that his girlfriend might be deceased, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The vehicle went off a cliff about 200 feet from the road and about 100 feet down in rugged terrain.
When deputies arrived, they found that 20-year-old Cierra Perez, of Santa Clara, had died from injuries sustained in the crash. Search and Rescue volunteers assisted in recovering her body from the bottom of the ravine.
Wyler was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Investigators said they do not believe Wyler and Perez were wearing seat belts.
According to Utah Court documents, Wyler was convicted of driving on a suspended driver’s license in May 2013, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license in March 2014, and minor consumption of alcohol in July 2014.
UPDATE: The Washington County Attorney’s Office chose Thursday to pursue different charges. Those charges include a third-degree felony for automobile homicide, a class B misdemeanor for driving on a revoked driver’s license, and an infraction for improper lane usage.
Judge Eric A. Ludlow, of the 5th District Court, ordered $5,000 bail for Wyler’s release pending trial.
Wyler was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Thursday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Michael Lastowski. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Jun 15.
This report includes preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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