Family of St. George man killed by alleged DUI driver react to plea deal

Feb 25, 2024, 5:39 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2024, 10:21 am

ST. GEORGE — The family of a St. George man hit and killed by an alleged driver under the influence is disappointed after the accused driver was sentenced to one year in jail.

Matthew Jones was hit and killed in November at the intersection of 500 North and Bluff Street in St. George. Police arrested Brianna Waters, 28, on multiple charges including DUI.

According to court documents, a plea deal had been reached. Waters pleaded guilty to multiple charges including possession of and use of a controlled substance, but the DUI charge was dropped. She was facing a sentence of one to 15 years in prison. A judge sentenced her to one year in jail, which includes time already served.

The prosecutor in charge of the case told KSL TV police did not read Waters her Miranda rights after she was arrested, which caused concern for the case. While the family did agree to the plea deal, Jones’ nieces told KSL they did not feel like they got the justice their family deserved.

“I’m upset that it turned out this way,” said SadieMae Jones. “Am I hateful towards anybody? I’m not going to let that hatred taint who I am because that’s not who I am.”

The Jones family said the last few months have been difficult for them. Matthew Jones was killed just a few days after his sister Mardelle was also hit and killed at nearly the same spot. The driver involved in that crash stayed on scene and cooperated with police.

“It feels extremely surreal,” said Hailey Jones. “It feels like we’re in a dream, almost like a nightmare, and we just keep reliving it because we keep getting dragged back into it.”

SadieMae and Hailey said they don’t wish Waters any harm but are hoping what happened to their family doesn’t happen to others.

“(This) could have gone better than what it has been and I think that (police) need to understand and learn from this,” Hailey Jones said.

Matthew Jones’ nieces said they hope to continue to honor his uncle’s legacy.

“He’s made such an impact on my life,” SadieMae Jones said. “But I’m going to just take that and move forward in the best ways that I can.”

Court documents state Waters must pay a fine of up to $2,000. She will be placed on probation for four years once she is released from jail. However, she will be sent to prison if there are any violations.

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Family of St. George man killed by alleged DUI driver react to plea deal