Salt Lake man gets up to 5 years in prison for causing passenger’s death while fleeing police

Nov 3, 2023, 2:47 PM

Summit Co. Justice Ctr....

A Salt Lake man pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter for causing the death of a passenger while he was fleeing police in a stolen car. He was sentenced to a prison term of zero to five years. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PARK CITY — A Salt Lake man who crashed his car, killing a passenger, while fleeing from police in Heber City has been sentenced to prison.

Charles Dwight Caster, 24, pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, on Oct. 20, and was sentenced that same day to a term of zero to five years in prison.

Caster was originally charged with murder, a first-degree felony, receiving a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony, and failing to stop for an officer, a third-degree felony, but these charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.

Third District Judge Richard Mrazik followed recommendations from that plea agreement and sentenced Casteras as if the charge was a third-degree felony instead of a second-degree felony.

Caster stole a car from a parking lot in Hideout, Wasatch County, on Sept. 22, 2021. About an hour later, a resident in Midway called police to report someone was trying to break into a vehicle. The burglars in that case drove off in a car that matched the description of the vehicle stolen from Hideout, according to police.

Wasatch County sheriff’s deputies and Heber City police officers attempted to stop Caster, but he fled.

“Witnesses observed the suspect vehicle driving at a high rate of speed on (U.S.) 40 and passing other vehicles on the shoulder and narrowly missing numerous other vehicles as he fled,” according to the charges.

While swerving in an attempt to miss a second set of tire spikes on U.S. 40, Caster’s car went off the road and rolled multiple times, charges say.

Daisha Reynolds, 19, of Salt Lake City was pronounced dead at the scene, and Caster was flown to a hospital in critical condition. Both were ejected from the car during the crash.

Caster had prior convictions for felony theft, attempted theft and fleeing from police, according to court records.

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Salt Lake man gets up to 5 years in prison for causing passenger’s death while fleeing police