LOGAN — A Tremonton man whose DUI driving resulted in a tougher pretrial detention law for Utah drunken-driving suspects was sentenced to prison Tuesday for a crash that maimed Sarah Frei of Syracuse and injured three other teens.
Dustin W. Andersen's pickup truck crossed into oncoming lanes on U.S. 89 in Cache County on July 30, 2020, colliding head-on with a car carrying four high school students returning from a summer vacation at Bear Lake. Frei, a cheerleader at Clearfield High, lost both legs and was left paraplegic.
As a result, the 2021 Utah Legislature passed House Bill 47, dubbed "Sarah's Law," which creates a presumption of pretrial detention for DUI suspects in crashes that result in death or serious injury, if the court finds substantial evidence supporting the charge and that there’s a clear danger to the community if the suspect is released.
Andersen posted $5,300 bond after the crash and was released after being booked at the Cache County Jail.
Before 1st District Judge Brandon Maynard on Tuesday, Andersen was sentenced to a pair of terms of up to five years in prison on two counts of third-degree felony DUI. He also was sentenced to up to a year in jail on each of two counts of class A misdemeanor DUI.
Maynard ordered that the prison time will begin after Andersen finishes the jail term. He also ruled that Andersen must pay $20,268 to the Utah Office for the Victims of Crime.
In a plea bargain, Andersen pleaded guilty to the two felony DUI counts. In return, the Cache County Attorney's Office reduced two of the original four felony DUI charges to class A misdemeanors and agreed to dismiss a count of class B misdemeanor reckless driving.
According to the plea bargain agreement filed in court, payment of the sum to the victims' fund constitutes a temporary restitution order. The agreement said the victims plan to file a civil suit seeking monetary damages for the crash.
Online court records show that some of the victims and their parents testified during the sentencing hearing.
In a previous interview, Sarah Frei's father, Greg, said of "Sarah's Law," “There needs to be a layer of protection added giving the judges discretion to increase the bail and do a review. Sometimes, these guys post a few hundred bucks and they’re right back on the street.”
The Davis School District recently announced that Sarah Frei won a Best of State award, a recognition for high-achieving Utah students.
"Despite that tragedy, she has remained positive and strong. Her story has been an inspiration to many throughout the world," the announcement said in part.
She maintained a 4.0 GPA from grades 9-12 and will graduate in 2021, the honor said. She had to catch up after spending more than two months in the hospital.