Dump Truck Driver Accused In Fatal Crash Had Extensive Criminal History
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The dump truck driver accused in a deadly crash that killed six people is now facing charges on automobile homicide and driving under the influence. There are new concerns over whether that driver, Jamie McKenzie, should even have been allowed behind the wheel of a commercial dump truck.
Court documents reveal an extensive criminal history of alcohol-related offenses dating back 20 years.
On Monday, KSL asked questions of investigators and spoke with the family of one of the victims.
From the front yard of the Salt Lake City home she shared with her late father, Viridiana Cardenas is sharing memories of the man she calls the best father in the world.
“He was the most loving person you would ever see,” said Cardenas.
She said her father, Efrain Cardenas, supported their family in every sense of the word.
“He was the pillar of this house,” she said. “He was everything for us and my kids.”
Efrain Cardenas was behind the wheel of the pickup truck that was struck head-on by a dump truck on Friday.
She says also in the pickup were three brothers and two cousins from one family – all returning from working out of state.
The grief is overwhelming and there is confusion as to how this could even happen.
“I don’t understand how a person with that record can drive,” she said through tears.
According to court records, the driver of the dump truck, Jamie McKenzie has a history of alcohol-related offenses behind the wheel.
KSL reached out to the owner of the company McKenzie drove for, High Mountain Construction. All our calls were not returned, and even a knock at the door to his Heber City home went unanswered.
We reached out to the Motor Carrier Division of UDOT. Their investigators have also been unsuccessful with reaching the owner of the company.
They can confirm to KSL, though, that the company itself has no past history of safety violations and were up to date with current inspections. Their investigation will continue until they too get answers; answers that might provide some closure, but will never bring back a beloved father and grandfather.
“Right now, if you ask me? I want justice,” said Viridiana.
The family is now struggling to pay for expenses related to the funeral for their father. There is a memorial fund at any Wells Fargo Bank under the name of Efrain Cardenas.
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