A Utah man awoke to a scene nobody wants to experience. His girlfriend was dead, and it was his actions that brought about her untimely demise. What he did before calling the police, however, would be the last thing anyone in this situation would think of doing.
Mark James Wyler took his 20-year-old girlfriend, Cierra Perez, on a canyon joyride on a Sunday evening in scenic Toquerville Falls, Utah. The narrow, one lane dirt road is tough to negotiate for anyone, but when alcohol and excessive speed are added into the mix, it’s all the more dangerous, especially considering there are no guardrails to prevent cars from falling off the edge.
Tragedy struck when Wyler misjudged a turn on the dirt road. The SUV rolled off the road and fell about 200 feet into a ravine, ejecting Perez from the vehicle. Wyler blacked out from his injuries and didn’t come to until the following morning around 5 a.m., Fox13 reported. As he looked around, he realized what happened. Then, he found his girlfriend on the ground outside the vehicle.
Mark Wyler, who had been driving on a suspended license, felt Cierra Perez’s body which was cold to the touch, and he realized that she had died. But, before calling the police, he popped open a couple of beers, which he had in the SUV. Wyler tossed back some cold ones as if it was a casual afternoon on the porch and his girlfriend’s dead body wasn’t in sight.
About an hour and a half after waking up and refueling his beer buzz, Wyler wandered into cell range and called 911. He told the dispatcher that he believed Perez was dead since his efforts to wake her failed. Emergency responders arrived at the scene and confirmed her death. Police recovered an empty Redd’s Apple Ale case and noted there were partially consumed beer bottles strewn about the wreckage, St George News reported.
Mark Wyler was taken to an area hospital and treated for his injuries, where he admitted to police that he had been drinking and caused the accident. He was charged with DUI and negligent homicide for the “dangerous manner” in which he was driving, despite the fact that his blood-alcohol level at the hospital was 0.000. Since officers couldn’t perform a field sobriety test at the scene, enough time had probably passed before the BAC test was performed for his system to clear any traces of alcohol.
It’s clear that this man is incapable of making good choices, from beginning to end. How could he drink more of the same stuff that killed his girlfriend in the first place, while still on the scene with her dead body in sight? His final act of consuming alcohol before calling the police is not justifiable by claiming it was to drown out his sorrows of the situation. He should have been locked up for a long time so he could sober up and not be a danger to anyone else. But, that’s where this story takes yet another disturbing turn.
Mark Wyler was only sentenced to 90 days in jail in lieu of a possible prison sentence for his part in the fatal rollover crash that left his girlfriend dead after Cierra Perez’s own mother pleaded for leniency, according to a follow-up article by St George News. Although Wyler was facing a third-degree felony charge of automobile homicide, along with a class B misdemeanor for driving with a suspended license and an infraction for improper lane use, a plea deal reduced the felony charge to a class A misdemeanor for negligent auto homicide to which Wyler pleaded guilty.
But, more shocking than the plea deal is Perez’s mother’s pleas for the court to take it easy on the man who was ultimately responsible for killing her daughter — after the mom even paid his bail. She even hoped to have the auto homicide charge dropped altogether, The Spectrum reported. “I really ask you to please not send him to jail,” Christina Perez told the court. “He’s got a lifetime of punishment he’s going to be giving himself.”
While forgiveness is certainly admirable, excusing accountability and consequence is not. And, her reason for requesting leniency is also rather flawed. Although she never met Wyler in person until after her daughter’s death, she said he made her daughter happy during the short time the couple was together. A mother simply shouldn’t put her daughter’s happiness above her safety. But, it gets worse.
Instead of being mad at Wyler, Christina Perez was mad at her dead daughter, claiming the young girl had bought a vehicle that shouldn’t have been on the road due to potential safety issues, she alleged. But, regardless of whether the SUV was “safe,” the bottom line is that Wyler should not have been driving it with a suspended license while drunk and possibly speeding. Now, he’s free to do it again. Let’s just hope he doesn’t decide to make some other young woman “happy” with a dangerous joyride.