SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah man says criminal charges appear "light" for a teen driver accused of critically injuring his daughter and killing the horse she was riding near Park City.
Hans Picard said while he's still angry over the accident, he realizes the misdemeanor charges filed Friday were all that could be brought under state law.
His 37-year-old daughter, Lacey Picard, was thrown from her horse, Tahoe, after the animal was struck Sept. 5. She remains in a Bountiful hospital after suffering a traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones.
Charges of reckless endangerment, aggravated cruelty to animals and careless driving were filed against the 16-year-old driver in 3rd District Juvenile Court. The name of the girl was not released and juvenile court records are not public.
"The charges appear light considering the calamity befallen on my daughter, Lacey," Hans Picard wrote Saturday by email to The Associated Press. "Yes, of course, I still am angry, even as I have compassion for all involved and hurt so needlessly by this teenager.
"Nevertheless, the charges are all that could be brought under the Utah sky, amazing as it is to people with some sense of justice and familiarity with the law. May the greatest good come from this tragedy for all concerned," he added.
Investigators initially said distracted driving and speed may have been factors in the accident, but they didn't elaborate about how the girl might have been distracted.
Hans Picard said a witness stated the girl was distracted by looking at her cellphone.
In a statement issued through their attorney, he and other family members said they hope the accident can serve as a reminder to all drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.
Lacey Picard was slowly regaining consciousness and will be moved to a rehabilitation center as her condition improves, according to her family.
A fund has been set up to help pay for her care and rehabilitation. She's a self-employed chiropractor who is uninsured.