A drug charge has been brought against Yocundo Cruz-Silva, the motorist charged with negligent homicide in the July death of a Salt Lake City police officer.
Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom said he learned Cruz-Silva had been arrested on Oct. 17, 1998, in West Valley City for allegedly having a bag of cocaine stashed under the seat of a car he was in, but charges were not filed against Cruz-Silva.
"This case came to light after Cruz-Silva was arrested on negligent homicide (charges)," Yocom said. "No charges were filed because the arresting officer hadn't processed the case properly. We went through the case, re-interviewed witnesses and filed" the charge Monday.
Prosecutors set the charge as a first-degree felony, alleging the crime was committed in the presence of a minor. If convicted, Cruz-Silva, 25, faces a maximum penalty of up to life imprisonment.
The negligent homicide charge, a Class A misdemeanor, carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail.
"I believe my client is not guilty," said Cruz-Silva's attorney. "Basically, this is the work of some police out there who are trying to crucify (him)."
On Monday, Cruz-Silva, a Mexican immigrant whose immigration status is in question, was transferred from a Denver Immigration and Naturalization Services holding facility to the Salt Lake County Jail, where he is being held on $100,000 bail.
Salt Lake bike patrol officer Michael Dunman was killed July 17 when the vehicle Cruz-Silva was driving veered across three lanes of traffic, jumped a curb and slammed into the policeman, who was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk.