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Police arrest man accused in deadly crash, killing mother and daughter

(Manases Vicente Castillo. Credit: Salt Lake County Jail)

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON – Formal charges have been filed against a man accused of driving drunk in Big Cottonwood Canyon and reportedly causing a crash that killed a mother and her daughter.

Manases Vicente Castillo is facing two counts of automobile homicide, as well as two counts of DUI.

Even though the crash happened on August 17, it took over a month for an arrest to be made.  Investigators weren’t sure which of the four men at the scene were driving the vehicle.   For the family of BrandiLee and 16-year-old Sierra Chacon, the arrests have been a long time coming.

CarolAnn Gudjenova is Sierra’s grandmother.  She tells KSL she heard the news of the arrest from her contractor.

“I was relieved.  I was just so happy to finally have somebody that’s going to have to take accountability for this loss,” she says.

On one hand, the wait has been an emotional rollercoaster for Gudjenova.

She adds, “It has absolutely been agony and [I’ve been] distraught to wait this long for an arrest.”

However, she says she’s glad the Salt Lake City police took the time to find out who was behind the wheel.  Officers had to rely on DNA evidence to pinpoint the driver.

“I wouldn’t want to charge somebody that wasn’t the person that caused the accident,” Gudjenova says.

Officers say Sierra Chacon was killed at the scene of the crash, and her mother, BrandiLee, died weeks later.  Charging documents state one of the men in the other car had a broken back and a broken nose.  Another man reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury.