Authorities in Utah say a 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of multiple crimes including six counts of homicide by automobile in connection to a Friday crash.
As KSL reported, Jamie Don McKenzie is accused of driving a dump truck under the influence of alcohol when he crossed a median on Interstate 40 in Heber City and crashed into an oncoming pickup truck.
A total of six occupants of the smaller truck, including 62-year-old driver Efrain Cardenas, were killed in the impact. The identities of the other occupants had not been determined as of initial reports due to the condition of their bodies, according to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Lawrence Hopper.
After smashing into the oncoming passenger vehicle, the dump truck reportedly came to rest on top of it.
Another vehicle, a Jeep, reportedly lost control in response to the collision and ran off the road into a ditch. A mother and daughter in that vehicle were treated for injuries at an area hospital.
“I think horrific is the best way to put it,” Hopper said. “There’s little left of that pickup truck.”
Police say they found open containers of alcohol inside vehicle McKenzie was driving. A witness estimated the driver was traveling between 70 and 75 miles per hour just before the collision.
Mugshots of 41y/o Jamie Don McKenzie. McKenzie was IDed yesterday as the driver of the dump truck involved in a "horrific" crash that killed 6 men on U.S. Highway 40 near Jordanelle Reservoir Friday. (Mugshots courtesy Wasatch County Sheriff).
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) October 21, 2018
The younger passenger in the Jeep involved says she has “no idea how we survived” the crash, noting that it seems “unfair” that they are able to be with their loved ones while the families of those in the pickup truck “are all waking up with one less family member.”
Police indicate McKenzie was uncooperative after his arrest and claimed he had not been drinking despite a trooper’s note that he could smell alcohol on the suspect’s breath.
He was treated at a nearby hospital before being booked into Wasatch County Jail. In addition to the homicide counts, McKenzie is expected to face charges including two counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury, speeding, reckless driving, open container, and unsafe lane travel.
[Featured image: Jamie Don McKenzie, Wasatch County Sheriff]