A Rigby man has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter after he reportedly hit and killed a woman while driving.
According to the probable cause affidavit, a deputy from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office responded around 5:39 a.m. May 6 after the driver, Lincoln Lear, called 911. The incident happened just 220 yards from the victim's residence.
The victim, identified as Melissa Nielson, was getting up early to go for a walk with a friend, part of her daily ritual. The friend, who witnessed the incident, said she saw Nielson approaching her and a car coming up behind Nielson.
The friend said she did not see the crash because of the car's headlights. When she took off her headphones, she heard a man saying "I'm sorry" and realized Nielson was on the ground. Deputies later determined Lear had hit Nielson and driven over her.
Lear told police he was reaching to grab his phone charger when he veered off the road, estimating he went off by about a foot. He said he looked back at the road just in time to see his car hit Nielson.
Lear was driving a 2001 Chevy Suburban and estimated he was driving between 20 and 25 mph.
The friend called Nielson's husband, who ran to the scene and called 911. He told police that when he arrived, Nielson was not breathing and did not have a pulse. When the deputy arrived, he performed CPR. Another deputy arrived and took over while the first deputy interviewed those present.
Nielson had a severe head injury. As more law enforcement officers arrived, her shoe was found 25 feet from where the Nielson was. The affidavit stated the shoe's location was the likely point of impact. Tire tracks were found at the side of the road behind Lear's car.
Nielson also suffered damage to her right hip and leg.
Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is punishable with up to a year in jail. Lear has not been arrested. Instead, a summons was issued for him to appear in court. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. June 22 in the Jefferson County Courthouse.