Crime • Charges allege driver was impaired when 7-year-old was impaled by a branch.
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A Provo man has been charged with killing a 7-year-old girl in an all-terrain vehicle accident in Tooele County on Mother's Day.
Chad Allen Tharp, 32, was charged in 3rd District Court on June 12 with automobile homicide, a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
The Tooele County Sheriff's Office had been awaiting the results of blood tests before deciding whether to file charges against Tharp. The homicide charge, for which he could serve up to five years in prison, indicates he was driving the ATV with a measurable amount of alcohol or drugs in his system, though the charges do not expand beyond that.
Tharp was driving the four-wheel ATV downhill in Middle Canyon when his vehicle drifted into some trees, Tooele County spokesman Wade Matthews said the day after the crash. Miranda Anderson was riding on the seat in front of Tharp.
A branch punctured the girl's neck, tearing an artery. Miranda's father, who was riding behind the ATV on his motorcycle, grabbed his daughter and rushed 5 miles down the canyon in order to get cellphone reception to call 911.
She was later pronounced dead at a hospital in Tooele.
Matthews had said sheriff's deputies were concerned Tharp a friend of the girl's mother may have been impaired. They got a search warrant to obtain blood-alcohol testing samples from Tharp.
Tharp is scheduled to make his first court appearance July 8 before 3rd District Judge Robert Adkins.