Accident took place on Interstate 15
KAYSVILLE, UT, (June 29, 2021) – Stephen Lewis Cotler of Healdsburg, Calif., and Ariana Elise Cotler of North Salt Lake were killed in a tragic multi-vehicle DUI accident on Interstate 15 in Kaysville at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, Myron Millsap Barlow, 38, of Bluffdale — whose blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit — was behind the wheels of a Ford F-250 which crashed into the back of a Toyota Prius, which in turn collided with a Chevy Malibu. The Toyota and Chevy had slowed down to avoid the debris from a catering truckload spill on I-15 near Burton Lane.
Official reports say that the Cotlers were killed in the Toyota, while another man was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition. Two people in the Chevy also suffered serious injuries, for which they were taken to a local hospital by ambulance.
Barlow was charged Wednesday in 2nd District Court with two counts of automobile homicide, and two counts of DUI with priors, both of which are third-degree felonies; DUI, a class A misdemeanor; and driving with an open container in his car, a class C misdemeanor.
Charging documents also stated that “he was having difficulty following instructions on how to fill out forms that were provided to him regarding the crash”, and that Barlow was given an Intoxilyer test, which registered his blood alcohol at 0.146%, or nearly three times the legal limit,
FATAL DUI PASSENGER CRASH INVESTIGATION NEEDED
Consumption of alcohol can greatly diminish a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle and Mr. Barlow should have taken that into consideration when he got behind the wheel.
As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 people die each day in the U.S. in drunk-driving crashes, which is one person every 50 minutes. More than 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes each year.
According to Michael Earner, an experienced DUI accident attorney and Managing Partner at the Earner & Weaver law firm, a wide variety of factors can contribute to these fatal crashes. Driving under the influence was one of the factors that he laid emphasis on, along with driver errors, distracted driving, and of course, excessive speeding.
Earner added that in unfortunate cases such as this, it is imperative to have an independent probe conducted into the crash by a seasoned lawyer to protect the family of a victim’s rights.
“Time is of the essence in cases such as this, and the family of the victim must ensure that evidence is reviewed in an efficient manner,” said Earner.
“An attorney will carefully review what may have contributed to the crash and has the resources to hire expert witnesses, conduct driver background checks, locate witnesses to the crash and review applicable insurance coverage. Serving as an advocate, an attorney can help compassionately guide a family during this difficult time, while vigorously protecting their legal rights and interests, ” Earner added.
WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Pending the investigation results, the Colter family may be entitled to a wrongful death claim. Family members of wrongful death victims may seek damages for loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and emotional distress following a tragic or catastrophic accident such as this tragic incident.
“The stress and sorrow can be extremely overwhelming after losing a loved one in an accident,” said Whitney Weaver, an attorney with the Earner & Weaver law firm.
“We understand just what families are forced to go through, and having their rights protected is vital. A wrongful death lawyer will stay updated on the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected,” Weaver added.
Have you been in a similar accident and need help? Speak to one of The Legal Advocate’s national legal analysts now free of charge for a no-obligation.
(Michael Earner and Whitney Weaver, of Earner & Weaver, PLLC, are the national legal analysts for The Legal Advocate. The Legal Advocate can and does use quotes from prior interviews with our analysts for our news articles. If you would like to contact Earner & Weaver to help you, please call 844-942-7274 or use the submission box found on this page. Legal analysts quoted may or may not be licensed in your state).