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Utah family upset with sentencing of driver who caused fatal crash

Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 00:14:25-05

HUNTINGTON, Utah — Time has done little to ease the pain of a family that lost their son in a car crash more than two years ago.

In September 2019, Bay Nelson was killed when he was hit head-on by a semi-truck on Highway 6 in Price Canyon.

“It was two police officers, and they told me there had been an accident and my son wasn’t coming home,” said Mindy Nelson, Bay’s mother. “I never got to see him be 22. His life was just starting. He had so many plans.”

Investigators found the driver of the truck who caused the crash illegally crossed a double yellow line in a no-passing zone.

That driver, Anyel Santos-Perez, was convicted in a jury trial of 2nd-degree felony manslaughter — punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

“There was just a little bit of a breath you could take,” Mindy described of the relief she felt when hearing the verdict.

That sense of relief was short-lived.

In October, the judge in this case sentenced Santos-Perez to one year in the county jail.

Bob Nelson, Bay’s father, described feeling disbelief at the decision.

“The anger is overwhelming,” he said.

Court documents reveal Santos-Perez is not an American citizen. His lawyer argued his “imminent deportation…makes little sense for the citizens of Utah to pay for further punishment.”

The Nelsons say they are now committed to working to change how these sentences are calculated. They feel the leniency in this case did not serve justice to their son — the victim.

“I feel the state should change the laws,” Bob said. “There should be a minimum. In felony cases, there shouldn’t be, a judge can go below this minimum.”

“I feel like we have failed him,” Mindy added. “It makes having even a little bit of peace, impossible.”