A Cache Valley man accused of killing a father and son in a multi-car crash in Moab entered a guilty plea to amended charges on Tuesday.
Benjamin Thomas Balls, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter and a single count of class-A misdemeanor attempted aggravated assault. According to documents filed with the 7th District Court, Balls entered into a plea agreement that would result in the dismissal of remaining charges.
On Feb. 9, Utah Highway Patrol officers engaged in a high-speed pursuit headed north toward Moab. According to a probable cause affidavit, Balls was speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour. The affidavit states Highway Patrol ended their pursuit as Balls entered Moab city limits to be resumed by Grand County Sheriff’s Office Deputies. Law enforcement wrote that two witnesses had to slam their brakes to avoid being hit by the pickup as Balls ran a red light prior to the crash.
Balls piloted his large pickup truck into two other vehicles, law enforcement wrote, and then crashed into a building near the intersection of Center Street and Main.
Balls “was crawling out of the passenger seat and found under the vehicle,” law enforcement wrote. “Benjamin uttered in (a deputy’s) presence that he was not wearing his seat belt and has previously had a drug problem.”
Vilsar Camey, 45, died at the scene; his 10-year-old son, Israel, died days later from injuries sustained in the crash. Katherine Sawyer was also injured in the wreck. According to a report from The Times-Independent, Sawyer said she was pregnant and gave birth a month early as a result of the crash; the child did sustain injuries.
Balls was transported to a local hospital for treatment and was later booked into the Grand County Jail. Balls was initially charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree failure to respond to an officer’s signal to stop, second-degree aggravated assault, and three misdemeanors related to the incident.
Balls is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 25.