EVANSTON — A Colorado man who was involved in a motor vehicle crash that claimed the lives of two people last July, including a 12-year-old boy, has been sentenced to spend 7-15 years behind bars. Braylin Wertenberger appeared in Third District Court on Dec. 23, when a scheduled motions hearing became a change of plea and sentencing hearing after a plea agreement was reached with the Uinta County Attorney’s office.
According to court documents, Wertenberger was driving a 2018 GMC Sierra pickup on the afternoon of Sunday, July 18, when he slammed into the back of a 2002 Toyota RAV4 that was stopped on I-80 just outside Evanston due to an earlier accident approximately half a mile east. The collision forced the RAV4 into the back of a 2013 Ford truck that was also stopped on the interstate.
Three individuals in the RAV4 were taken to the hospital by ambulance, where the 12-year-old boy, Scobey Baker of Wolf Point, Montana, was pronounced dead. The boy’s grandfather, 71-year-old William Baker, also of Wolf Point, who had been driving the RAV4, was taken by helicopter to the University of Utah, where he later succumbed to his injuries. The third person, the boy’s teenaged brother, suffered significant injuries but survived.
Wertenberger and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the Sierra, were also taken to the hospital for evaluation, where both were reportedly found to have drug paraphernalia on their person. Law enforcement officers also reportedly found drug paraphernalia and residue consistent with heroin use in the vehicle, and witnesses on the scene estimated the vehicle was traveling at approximately 85 miles per hour as it approached the backed-up traffic.
Wertenberger entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated homicide by vehicle and one count of aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 7-15 years for each count of aggravated homicide and 7-10 years for the aggravated assault and battery count, all to be served concurrently.