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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Charges filed against man suspected of causing triple fatal accident near Wendover

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News

Published: Mon, July 7 3:25 p.m. MDT

 Delphine John, center, 44, and daughters Anaya Adame Orozco, left, 3, and Delilah Ramirez, 20, of Farmington, were killed near Wendover in a horrific collision on the way to a weekend camping trip about 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 4, 2014. They were passengers in a Chevrolet Suburban that was struck by a pickup driving the wrong direction on I-80 about 32 miles from the Utah/Nevada border. The only occupant of the SUV who survived, Jose Fidel Adame-Orozco, 36, remains in a medically induced coma.

Delphine John, center, 44, and daughters Anaya Adame Orozco, left, 3, and Delilah Ramirez, 20, of Farmington, were killed near Wendover in a horrific collision on the way to a weekend camping trip about 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 4, 2014. They were passengers in a Chevrolet Suburban that was struck by a pickup driving the wrong direction on I-80 about 32 miles from the Utah/Nevada border. The only occupant of the SUV who survived, Jose Fidel Adame-Orozco, 36, remains in a medically induced coma.

(Family photo)

WEST JORDAN — The man accused of causing a horrific accident on I-80 near Wendover on Friday that killed a mother and her two daughters told investigators he doesn't remember the crash at all.

Charges were filed late Monday against Paul Michael Mumford, 36, of West Jordan. Mumford was charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of murder, all first-degree felonies; or in the alternative manslaughter, all second-degree felonies; or in the alternative automobile homicide, all second-degree felonies. In addition, he was charged with DUI, a third-degree felony and reckless endangerment, a class-A misdemeanor.

Mumford was last reported to be in stable condition in a local hospital.

Utah Highway Patrol investigators believe Mumford was intoxicated and driving his pickup truck erratically on I-80 about 6:30 p.m. Friday. At one point, a motorist stopped Mumford to talk about his behavior, but he drove away, according to court records.

Mumford was observed by motorists tailgating other vehicles, coming to a complete stop in the slow lane and using the turnaround area typically reserved for emergency vehicles only, according to charging documents.

Later, Mumford did a U-turn and started driving east in the westbound lanes.

His pickup hit head-on with a 2007 Chevy Suburban carrying a family of four from Farmington who were headed to Nevada for a holiday weekend camping trip.

Delphine John, 44, and her daughters Delilah Ramirez, 20, and Anaya Adame Orozco, 3, were killed. Jose Fidel Adame-Orozco, 36, suffered a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and a broken leg.

Troopers believe each vehicle was traveling about 80 mph at the time of the crash. Neither showed signs of braking prior to impact.

At the hospital later, Mumford told UHP investigators that he had been gambling in Wendover, Nevada, for a couple of hours and had a few beers prior to getting in his truck, the charges state.

"Mr. Mumford stated that he left Wendover and must have fallen asleep. He did not remember anything about the accident, " according to the charges.

Mumford then asked the trooper if anyone had been hurt or died in the crash. When the investigator told him yes, he stopped answering his questions and asked for an attorney, the charges state.

A warrant for cash-only $400,000 bail was issued Monday for Mumford.

Mumford appeared to have been showing an increasing pattern of self-destruction in the weeks leading up to the accident.

On June 12, West Jordan police were called to break up a domestic violence-related incident involving Mumford and his wife. He tried hiding in the garage when police arrived, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. The officers had to force entry into the garage, where they found an intoxicated Mumford hiding, the report stated.

The next day, Mumford's wife filed for a protective order, according to court records, and on July 1 filed for divorce.

Mumford was charged in West Jordan Justice Court on June 18 with seven misdemeanors, including assault, domestic violence and intoxication. He was scheduled to be arraigned in that case on Aug. 12.

In August 2013, Mumford pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in West Jordan Justice Court and was placed on probation.

In 2005, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in Murray Justice Court. He was placed on probation and ordered to have a interlock device installed in his vehicle, according to court records.

In 2000, Mumford pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to battery, a class B misdemeanor, in exchange for a public intoxication charge being dropped.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported that the Fourth of July weekend resulted in troopers making more than 4,100 DUI arrests and investigating 126 crashes. Two of those crashes, including Friday's incident near Wendover, resulted in nine deaths.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. What in Tucket?
Provo, UT,
July 7, 2014

Medscape the scientific medical review journal online journal states clearly: "no amount of alcohol is safe." Alcohol is more dangerous than just about any of the recreational drugs, heroin, cocaine, etc. I hope the person gets a serious charge.

2. SLC Grandma
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 7, 2014

Now three life-loving people are dead and another seriously injured, all because the drunken driver of the other vehicle, which was speeding along the highway in the wrong direction and thereby causing this tragic head-on collision, has not been taken off the road, despite multiple alcohol-related convictions dating clear back to 2000! What does it take and how many will die before significant penalties are given (and enforced) for drunk driving??!! Where does this buck stop - on whose desk?

3. MAYHEM MIKE
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 7, 2014

My opinion: If you intentionally drink and drive and cause a fatality you should receive the death penalty.

4. demantee
Saratoga Springs, UT,
July 7, 2014

2 questions:

If other drivers saw the erratic behavior, why wasn't it reported?
If it was reported, why didn't the Highway Patrol act on the report?

If it had been reported and the report acted on, 3 lives may have been saved.

No one has a right to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while texting, in a rage, or doing anything else that puts lives at risk including their own.

5. Big Al
Chandler, AZ,
July 7, 2014

There are a number of reasons this type of tragedy is repeated. First, lawmakers, judges, and cops hate to be too hard on the offenders because many of them use and abuse alcohol themselves. Too many have been irresponsible themselves and have operated vehicles while under the influence, and got away with it. They don't want to "over-react" to those who get caught or cause these types of accidents, because too many can truthfully say "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

Second, ever since we started defining "alcoholism" as a "disease," we look at those who abuse alcohol as "ill" or just "in need of treatment." You can't punish someone too harshly for having a disease, can you? So the drunks continue to kill innocent folks, continue to wreak havoc on American families, continue to cost the taxpayer billions of dollars annually, and continue to hide behind the label of "disease." There is a huge difference between disease and addiction!

It's that simple. Stop providing excuses for behavior and the behavior might change.