Tristian D. Myers has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony, and vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor, after the Oct. 22 death of Leslie Nassar.
Police earlier said Myers admitted to driving the pickup truck that hit Nassar and two of his daughters, ages 3 and 8, early that morning. Dispatch received a suspicious phone call — later traced to Myers — reporting the hit-and-run at about 7:30 a.m. Police said they believed alcohol was a factor in the hit-and-run.
Nassar later died at a local hospital. His daughters survived.
The plea reduced an earlier charge of felony vehicular manslaughter. Court records suggest Myers’ charges have varied over time: In January, he pleaded not guilty to injury to a child and to driving under the influence, but those counts no longer appear on his online court listing.
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Myers’ sentencing is planned for May 22. Leaving the scene carries up to five years in prison and no more than a $5,000 fine. The misdemeanor version of vehicular manslaughter calls for up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
Had Myers been found guilty of felony vehicular manslaughter, he could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Nassar, co-owner of Wrangling Cats — a Sydney, Australia, digital production studio — was an Australian citizen who had moved to Idaho earlier this year, a friend told the Sydney Morning Herald last fall. He was living in Nampa with his wife, the couple’s three daughters and his in-laws.
Andrea Horton, Nassar’s business partner in Wrangling Cats, said Nassar was a “savage satirist, driven by a desire to see the powerful held to account and for justice to prevail.” Nassar wanted to use digital innovation to make the world a better place, she told the Statesman.
“In private, he was a gentle, compassionate soul with a fierce love for his family and loyalty to his friends, while at work he was a passionate and creative genius, dedicated to using new technologies in weird and wonderful new ways that seemed impossible until Leslie made them a reality with an understated aplomb,” Horton said.
The morning of the hit-and-run, Nassar had just walked his oldest daughter to a bus to take her to a co-ed wrestling tournament in Middleton. He was returning home with his younger daughters when they were struck.
Myers has received nationwide attention before, for a Meridian wreck in November 2014. He told police that he crashed a 1988 Ford Bronco after a 16-year-old boy in the passenger seat held a cigarette lighter to his armpit, burning the hair.
The exact timing of the armpit incident in relation to the crash was unclear in later, conflicting testimony from others during trial.
Myers was charged with reckless driving and was acquitted after a jury trial. His passenger was convicted of battery and served two days in jail.