In the picturesque setting of Toquerville Falls, Utah, a Sunday evening joyride took a tragic turn. Mark James Wyler and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Cierra Perez, went for a drive on a one-lane dirt road that twists and turns through a canyon. The road was perilous, even for experienced drivers, and the lack of guardrails only made matters worse. Unfortunately, alcohol and reckless speeding exacerbated the situation that night.
The couple’s adventure took a tragic turn when Wyler miscalculated a bend in the road, causing their SUV to roll off the edge and plummet around 200 feet into a ravine. Perez was thrown from the vehicle during the accident, while Wyler was rendered unconscious due to his injuries. It wasn’t until 5 a.m. the following morning that Wyler awoke, Fox13 reported, and as he surveyed the scene, he came to grips with the horrific consequences of his actions.
Wyler, whose license was suspended, found Perez’s lifeless body lying near the wreckage. Instead of immediately calling for help, however, he chose to drink several beers he found in the SUV. It took another hour and a half before Wyler made his way into cell reception and contacted 911. Despite his attempts to rouse her, Perez remained unresponsive, and emergency personnel later confirmed her death. According to St George News, police discovered an empty Redd’s Apple Ale case and half-consumed beer bottles scattered around the accident site.
Wyler was taken to a nearby hospital, where he admitted to drinking prior to the crash. He was subsequently charged with DUI and negligent homicide for his reckless behavior. Although his blood-alcohol level tested at 0.000, police couldn’t perform a field sobriety test at the scene, and enough time may have elapsed for Wyler’s system to eliminate any traces of alcohol before the test was conducted.
Wyler’s poor decision-making was evident throughout the incident, including his choice to drink more alcohol before contacting authorities. His actions were inexcusable, and he should have faced significant consequences for his behavior. However, this tragic story took an unexpected turn.
Wyler was sentenced to only 90 days in jail, rather than a potential prison term, after Cierra Perez’s mother pleaded for leniency, as reported by St George News. Wyler faced a third-degree felony charge of automobile homicide, a class B misdemeanor for driving with a suspended license, and an infraction for improper lane use. However, a plea deal reduced the felony charge to a class A misdemeanor for negligent auto homicide, to which Wyler pleaded guilty.
Perez’s mother’s plea for leniency was startling, considering her daughter’s death. The mother, Christina Perez, even paid Wyler’s bail and sought to have the auto homicide charge dropped altogether, The Spectrum reported. Christina Perez told the court, “I really ask you to please not send him to jail. He’s got a lifetime of punishment he’s going to be giving himself.”
Christina Perez’s request for leniency is commendable in its forgiveness, but it undermines the importance of accountability and consequences. Her reasoning is also questionable. She claimed that Wyler made her daughter happy during their brief time together, despite never having met him before her daughter’s death. A mother should prioritize her child’s safety over happiness.
Moreover, Christina Perez directed her anger at her late daughter, alleging that she had purchased an unsafe vehicle. While the SUV’s safety may have been a factor, the primary issue was Wyler’s decision to drive under the influence with a suspended license and potentially at high speeds. Now, Wyler is free to repeat his dangerous behavior. We can only hope that he won’t endanger another young woman’s life with reckless joy.
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