Judge shows compassion for woman hit by 2 trains in police chase

Monday , June 16, 2014 - 4:04 PM

By LORETTA PARK Standard-Examiner staff

FARMINGTON --- A  woman whose car was hit by two trains during a police chase deserves compassion, a judge said. 

Judge John Morris noted that Bonnie Jean Stroud, 30,  who appeared in 2nd District Court on Monday for her sentencing hearing, had “the deck stacked against” her, but was already showing signs she wanted to improve and change her life.

 “Ms. Stroud, your history is the most compelling for compassion,” Morris said. 

Morris said Stroud’s past was as close to “trafficking” as has come before his courtroom. 

Stroud of Salt Lake City had entered guilty pleas in February to one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor.

The charges stemmed from an incident Oct. 13, 2013, in Woods Cross.

Morris sentenced Stroud to serve 90 days of home confinement, allowing her to leave her home for work, counseling, court order community service and medical appointments. He also sentenced Stroud to serve two years probation with Adult Probation & Parole. She is to get substance abuse evaluation and mental health evaluation, as well as undergo treatment. 

He also ordered her to pay a fine  of $1,370 for the DUI conviction and also to pay restitution to two men and to the Union Pacific Railroad. 

Morris did suspend jail sentences in lieu of the home confinement and probation. 

"I doubt I will be so accommodating, if you don’t comply,“ Morris said.

Stroud’s attorney, Steve Burton, said in court that Stroud had been exposed and subjected as a child ”to some things no young child should have been exposed to or subjected to.“ 

Burton said Stroud has acted out over the years by engaging in self-destructive behavior.

Stroud had been a victim in a hostage situation in California. She testified against the man who is now serving a prison sentence, even though he had threatened her life, Burton said.

Stroud is now working for a landscape company, doing clerical and bookkeeping work, Burton said. She has also undergone therapy for her substance abuse issue.

She had been arrested in November in Park City and was sentenced in March for driving under the influence of pain medication, Burton said. 

Burton said she had been released from the hospital following her crash with the two trains with pain medication prescriptions. At that time no one knew she had cracked several vertebrae. 

"The truth is Ms. Stroud is lucky to be alive,” Burton said. “She collided with a train and another train collided with the car. It’s hard to believe, after seeing the car, anyone lived through that. She has a renewed gratitude for a second chance at life.”

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in court, Stroud’s blood alcohol content on that date at the hospital was 0.192, more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

According to the document, Stroud was “an unwanted guest” at a party in Woods Cross. She left the party as police approached and then took off at a high rate of speed, police said. She led them on a short chase during which speeds got as high as 100 mph.

Stroud turned eastbound on 2600 South, police said. At 1050 West, the Mercedes Benz Stroud was driving entered a train crossing and was struck by a southbound freight train.

As police were arriving, another southbound train on an adjacent track hit the vehicle.

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.

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