SALT LAKE CITY — A Sandy woman who admitted to killing three members of a North Carolina family in a head-on crash has been fined about $10,000 and ordered to warn others about the dangers of reckless driving.
Jennifer Diamond, 43, will also serve two years of probation but was spared jail time in the June 2018 deaths of Holly Jo Bova, 43, her husband, Tyrone Bova, 47, and 11-year-old Haden Bova, of Archdale, North Carolina.
The vacationing family was 3 miles outside the central Utah town of Scipio when their sedan collided with Diamond's Porsche SUV and caught fire, police said.
During an emotional sentencing hearing Wednesday in Fillmore, Diamond was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service with a traffic safety organization. The sentence ultimately won support from Tyler Bova, who was 17 at the time of the crash and survived critical injuries. He went through extensive rehabilitation in Utah, his attorney, David Corbett, said.
Tyler Bova has graduated from high school as friends and family have rallied around him. He continues to heal from a traumatic brain injury and appeared in court with braces on his legs and a cane, Corbett said.
Fourth District Judge Anthony Howell balanced praise of Tyler Bova's courage and resilience with compassion for a remorseful Diamond, calling her a good person who made a tragic mistake, Corbett said. The judge at times appeared teary.
"My client went in saying, 'She needs to go to jail for this, she took my family from me,'" Corbett said. By the time the judge read Diamond's sentence, he recalled, Tyler Bova no longer wanted Diamond to spend time behind bars. He supported the community service order and the judge's promise to Diamond that every dollar she donates to a traffic safety nonprofit will chip away at her fine.
"It was completely unique. I've never been involved in a sentencing hearing like that," Corbett said. His client declined to speak with reporters.
In the wreckage of the family's sedan, investigators found a binder labeled "Bova Family Vacation 2018." They were on a cross-country road trip that started at their home, with more stops planned after Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol reported.
As part of a plea bargain in May, Diamond admitted she passed a car and stayed in the oncoming lane for too long and then crashed into the Bova's car on state Route 50, 3 miles south of Scipio, Millard County.
At the time of her arrest, police said she may have been distracted by dogs in her Porsche. Her daughter, then 9 years old, also sustained critical injuries in the crash. Witnesses described the Porsche as driving very fast, reckless and on the wrong side of the road for longer than it should take to pass another vehicle, according to a search warrant.
Diamond, the owner of a Salt Lake road construction company, was originally charged with three counts of manslaughter and aggravated assault, second-degree felonies, plus reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor.
As part of the deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to three counts of negligent homicide, second-degree felonies, and reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor. In exchange for her guilty pleas, the assault charge was dismissed.