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A St. George man who was allegedly drinking the night he drove off a cliff in rural Washington County a plunge which killed his passenger pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Mark James Wyler, 22, was charged in 5th District Court with third-degree felony automobile homicide in connection with the death on June 7, 2014, of 20-year-old Cierra Perez.
Wyler also was charged with driving on a revoked license, a class B misdemeanor, and improper lane operation, an infraction.
Last week, Wyler pleaded guilty to class A misdemeanor negligent homicide, as well as to driving on a revoked license and improper lane operation.
The victim's mother spoke to the judge "in support of leniency" toward Wyler, according to the court docket.
Judge Jeffrey Wilcox could have sentenced Wyler to 18 months in jail. Instead, he ordered 90 days behind bars and gave Wyler credit for 32 days already served.
As part of an 18-month probation, Wyler must pay a $2,500 fine, complete substance abuse and mental health evaluations and any treatment recommended.
According to charging documents, Wyler told investigators that he drank the night of June 7, 2014, and then drove toward Toquerville Falls, according to the charges. On the way to the falls, Wyler drove off a dirt road and plunged about 100 feet down into a ravine.
Perez was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled and died at the scene.
Wyler remembered the crash happening about 10:45 p.m., and that he regained consciousness inside the vehicle about 5 a.m. the next morning, charges state. He found Perez outside, but was unable to wake her up; she also felt cold, and he "believed she was deceased."
"[Wyler] said he then drank some of the alcohol before going to find cell service to call 911," according to the charges. Dispatchers received his call at 6:22 a.m., and he was later taken to the hospital.
The road doesn't have any guardrails and isn't regularly maintained, requiring drivers to drive slowly and carefully even in daylight, according to the charges. But marks in the road showed that the vehicle was traveling fast around a sharp curve, "in what [Wyler] explained was in darkness," according to the charges.
Investigators found an opened bottle of Redd's Apple Ale, an empty case of the ale and several bottle caps in the vehicle's debris path, according to the charges.