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A judge has ordered a Draper man to stand trial on a murder charge and 13 other counts for an alleged DUI accident that left a 43-year-old mother dead and eight others injured.
Third District Judge Charlene Barlow decided to bind over 45-year-old Bill Robert Thompson after hearing legal arguments from attorneys on Tuesday and hearing evidence earlier this month during a preliminary hearing.
Salt Lake County prosecutors took the unusual step of charging Thompson with first-degree felony murder in the May death of Susan Madsen. Drivers who kill others while driving drunk are usually charged with lesser second- or third-degree felony counts of automobile homicide.
On May 8, Thompson was allegedly drunk behind the wheel of his pickup truck when he sped through a red light at the intersection of Lone Peak Parkway and 12300 South and slammed into the SUV driven by Madsen, also of Draper.
The 6:30 p.m. collision killed Madsen, critically injured her 16-year-old daughter and caused a chain of other smaller accidents that left seven other motorists with minor injuries.
In addition to murder, prosecutors have charged Thompson with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol and two counts of aggravated assault, all third-degree felonies; seven misdemeanor DUI counts; and two counts each of assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child.
Barlow on Tuesday dismissed one of the domestic violence in the presence of a child.
Draper police investigators said Thompson was traveling about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone at the time of the crash. Police believe the truck was about 175 feet from the intersection when he hit the gas pedal. Court papers say Thompson was found in his pickup after the crash. His speech was slurred. Officers who went to the hospital to talk to Thompson reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol and said Thompson's eyes were bloodshot.
Court documents also say a 911 caller reported a fight and assault at Thompson's Draper home about 30 minutes before the crash. The caller, a woman who lived downstairs in the same residence, said Thompson was arguing with another woman in front of a 3-year-old child. The caller said she was struck multiple times in the face by Thompson after she tried to remove the child from the room.
A male neighbor who also tried to intervene in the altercation was also hit by Thompson, court papers say. Thompson sped away from the neighborhood after the fight and witnesses told police he had been intoxicated for several days, according to the documents.