Utah man pleads guilty to manslaughter in Shiprock car crash

Steve Garrison
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A 33-year-old man from West Jordan, Utah, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to involuntary manslaughter in connection to a fatal car crash in Shiprock last year, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Bradford Billy called Shiprock police dispatch shortly before noon Aug. 2, 2014, to report a car crash on North Second Lane in Shiprock, according to the criminal complaint.

At the scene, police found a blue Dodge Caliber with a damaged front end facing southwest, and a large tree was laying across the dirt road north of the vehicle.

Billy was found with his hands on another man's chest, as if he were trying to revive him, the complaint states.

Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after and determined the man, who is not named in the criminal complaint, was dead.

Billy told officers the deceased man, a friend, kicked him out of the car shortly before crashing the vehicle into the tree, but Billy could not explain why he was covered in dirt and scratches, the complaint states.

Billy registered a 0.04 blood-alcohol content level on a breath test and was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, according to the complaint.

Police later found a third occupant of the vehicle, identified in the complaint only as "R.T." He told detectives Billy was the driver of the vehicle and all three men had consumed gin and beer before Billy lost control of the vehicle on North Second Lane.

"R.T." told detectives he fled the scene after the crash because he was afraid of getting in trouble, the complaint states.

Billy was charged Dec. 2 with involuntary manslaughter and was initially allowed supervised release, according to court records.

However, a drug test revealed amphetamines in his system in late July, and he was taken into custody, records state.

Billy will be sentenced to between 37 and 46 months in prison as a result of his plea agreement with prosecutors, according to the release.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.