By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Alleged drunk driver faces felony charges

 


A man accused of vehicular homicide after his friend died in a car crash pleaded not guilty to the felony charge.

Tyler W. Jones, 24, of Rock Springs appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at an arraignment to one count of aggravated homicide by vehicle.

If Tyler is found guilty of the charge, he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. A jury trial has been scheduled to take place March 13, 2017 at 9 a.m.

According to court documents, on July 18, 2016, at around 1 p.m. a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper responded to a report of a one-vehicle rollover on Interstate 80, South Service Road near mile marker 3. Upon arrival, it appeared a Nissan Rogue had rolled at least six times and came to a rest on its wheels.

Evidence gathered at the scene suggested the vehicle was heading eastbound at more than 100 mph when the driver, later identified as Tyler, drove the vehicle off the roadway. The tires of the vehicle caught the soft dirt causing the vehicle to tip and then roll.

Tyler was located 60 yards from the vehicle, while Joe Garncia, a passenger in the vehicle, was lying 5 yards away from the vehicle and was deceased. Garncia had severe trauma to his lower extremities.

Tyler was taken to the University of Utah Hospital. While on the way to the hospital, Jones was able to say his name and where he was from. He has a broken left eye socket, broken left shoulder, and broken ribs on the left side. He also had four cracked vertebrae in his back.

Troopers investigated the scene and found an empty Crown Royal bottle in the car. A Rock Springs Police Department officer arrived at the scene and told the troopers, Tyler was involved in an alleged domestic violence dispute with his pregnant wife prior to crash and the RSPD was looking for him.

Officers interviewed Tyler’s brother, Cody Jones, who said he had been with Tyler the night before when he, his brother and Garncia were drinking at the bars until 2 a.m. Just prior to 2 a.m., they purchased a large bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey to take fishing with them. They then went fishing at the Flaming Gorge.

He said both Garncia and his brother were very drunk. They decided to go to his brother’s house, where his brother got into a physical altercation with his wife.

After the fight, Tyler picked up Garncia and Cody and they talked about where to drive to. Cody told officers he offered to drive because Tyler was too drunk to drive, but his brother stopped the car by Big Sky Trail and told Cody to get out of the car.

Tyler then drove off.

Tina Garncia, who was also in the vehicle told an officer she had been drinking with Tyler at the bar. She said eventually they met up with Cody and Joe and they went fishing. Cody drove to Flaming Gorge, but Tyler insisted on driving even though he and Joe had drank the entire bottle of whiskey.

Tina said her memory was foggy because of how much they drank, but she recalled around 11 a.m. they went back to Rock Springs and she got into an argument with them. She got out of the vehicle and refused to get back in so Tyler drove off. She walked miles before reaching Cruel Jack’s Truck Stop.

Three hours after the crash, Tyler’s blood alcohol level was tested at the hospital and it was .185, more than double the legal limit.

 

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