This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A 25-year-old Washington County man was sentenced to jail Thursday for a drunken driving episode in which another man fell to his death from the hood of an accelerating car.
Randahl Keith Hill, of Hurricane, was charged in 5th District Court with second-degree felony auto homicide, third-degree felony failure to remain at the scene of the accident, and class B misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence and reckless driving.
In October, Hill pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony and the two misdemeanors. In exchange for the pleas, prosecutors dismissed the auto homicide count.
On Thursday, Judge Eric Ludlow suspended a potential zero-to-five-year prison term and, instead, ordered Hill to serve one year in the Washington County Jail as part of a 36-month probation.
On May 19 at about 5:10 a.m., Hill was driving drunk when the victim Bruce A. Smale, 52, of Arkansas fell off the hood of the car
at 300 N. Main St., which is near where Hill lives.
Court documents say Hill admitted to doing a "burn out," leaving two "long acceleration treadmarks" on the street while Smale was on the hood of the 1994 Ford Mustang.
Hill told police he accelerated until Smale fell off the hood, court documents state.
Hurricane police Sgt. Brandon Buell has said that "witnesses ... heard a vehicle revving [its] engine" at the time of the incident.
Hill allegedly fled the scene in the car, but returned before officers arrived, "to find his mother over the body of the victim," who was dead at the scene.
Hill told police he had been drinking all night with Smale, and admitted drinking about 12 cans of beer beginning at 10 p.m., according to court documents.
Terms of Hill's probation include community service and paying at least $3,600 in restitution, according to court records.