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A tragic legal saga came to an end yesterday in a Richfield courtroom in the wake of a deadly April 29, 2010, accident on Interstate 70. Sgt. Franco Aguilar, a Sevier County sheriff’s officer, was struck and killed by a speeding, out-of-control driver on an icy bridge as he assisted a stranded driver.

The driver of the vehicle that struck him was charged with negligent homicide, but was given a break on a jail sentence in exchange for an agreement that he agree to educate others on how to avoid similar accidents. He entered a plea agreement that dropped lesser charges of failing to reduce speed in the presence of emergency vehicles and speed too fast for conditions, in exchange for a 30 day sentence and the requirement that he give 30 presentations in high schools across the state that highlight the dangers facing emergency responders.

The inclusion of the presentation requirement was requested by Aquilar’s widow, Jamie, and the driver readily agreed, indicating that he is looking forward to making a positive difference in the communities where he presents. The county attorney prosecuting the case also embraced the idea. Perhaps a future tragedy will be avoided by the driver’s efforts.

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