A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper agreed Monday to plead guilty to felony reckless driving in an on-duty crash that killed four people and left a pregnant teen critically injured in February.
Trooper Joshua Corcran, 28, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas justice court, and a judge bound the case over to Clark County District Court for his plea on June 8th.
Corcran could face a sentence of probation up to 30 years in prison, prosecutor L.J. O'Neale said.
The state dropped involuntary manslaughter charges in the Feb. 19 crash on Interstate 15 that killed four illegal Mexican immigrants who lived and worked in the St. George area of southwest Utah.
Police and prosecutors said Corcran was driving 113 mph - heading home for dinner - when his marked patrol cruiser slammed into the rear of a 1998 Cadillac traveling 52 mph in the fast lane of the three-lane freeway, where the speed limit is 65 mph.
Las Vegas police who investigated the crash determined the emergency lights and siren on the NHP cruiser were not in use, and that Corcran was neither chasing a vehicle nor answering an emergency call.
The only survivor of the crash, 16-year-old Cecilia Lopez Cruz, was four months pregnant with twins at the time. She has been recuperating in Utah from pelvis, rib, lower back, head and internal injuries. Her unborn babies were said to be healthy.
Cruz's 21-year-old husband, Victor De La Cruz-De Leon, was killed, along with Cruz's 21-year-old sister, Reymunda Lopez-Vazquez; a 42-year-old relative, Jose Sanchez Lopez; and a 19-year-old family friend, Jose Roberto Mejia Lang. All were from a town in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Corcran, a five-year NHP veteran, has been on medical and administrative leave since the crash. He remained under house arrest.
His lawyer, Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson, was not immediately available for comment.
The crash has also spawned a federal civil lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, seeking unspecified damages from the state of Nevada, the Nevada Highway Patrol, NHP administrators, and Corcran on behalf of Cruz and relatives of those killed.
According to court documents, the state attorney general's office and Eva Garcia Mendoza, a lawyer for the immigrants' relatives, have begun settlement talks.