A jury trial has been set for February for Fairfield resident Matthew Richard Park, 45, after a two-vehicle accident on Aug. 10 left three sisters under the age of 7 dead and two adults severely injured.
Park faces five felony charges—three of vehicular manslaughter and two of aggravated DUI, for allegedly causing the accident, while under the influence of alcohol. At an arraignment in 5th District Court in Hailey on Monday, Park pleaded not guilty to all charges, and the prosecution asked for a six-day jury trial. Both the prosecution and the defense asked that the trial be set for February to allow sufficient time for discovery on both sides. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Feb. 3 and the jury trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 19.
According to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and first responders were dispatched to an area on U.S. Highway 20 about 5 miles west of Timmerman Junction around 1:19 a.m. on Aug. 10 for a report of a two-vehicle accident. The crash happened at the site of a temporary traffic signal for an Idaho Transportation Department bridge construction project just east of Hot Springs Landing.
The investigation by deputies determined that a Blue 2000 Dodge Neon, driven by Somchai Ray Lee Lurak, 26, of Mountain Home, with passenger Emma Weigand, 26, also of Mountain Home, in the front seat and Lurak’s three daughters, ages 3, 5 and 6 in the back seat of the car, all in car seats, was stopped at the construction light traveling west when Park, in a white 1995 Dodge pickup, also traveling west, collided with the rear of the Dodge Neon in the westbound lane. Two of the children, the 5- and 6-year-olds, were pronounced dead at the scene and the 3-year-old died later at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center.
Lurak and Weigand were transported to St. Luke’s Wood River and later transported to Saint Alphonsus hospital in Boise for their injuries. Park appeared uninjured and declined medical assistance.
Suspecting that Park was intoxicated, deputies at the scene gave him a field sobriety test and collected breath samples. According to court records, his breath tests registered alcohol concentrations of 0.191 and 0.189. The legal limit in Idaho is 0.08.
If convicted, Park could spend up to 75 years in prison.