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Driver accused of intentionally striking, killing newlyweds walking on sidewalk

BOISE, Idaho - A driver accused of intentionally striking and killing a young newlywed couple walking on a sidewalk in western Idaho has been arraigned.

KTVB-TV reports 37-year-old Jason Verwer was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and could be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison if convicted. CBS affiliate KBOI reports that his bond is set at $1 million.

Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman says Verwer was driving fast on U.S. Highway 95 last Wednesday in Fruitland when he abruptly swerved into 22-year-old Matthew Parkinson and his 17-year-old wife Amelia. KBOI reported that witnesses said the couple were walking, holding hands.

KBOI reports that according to the prosecutor, witnesses and video evidence show that Verwer did not seem to slow down after hitting the newlyweds and carried the couple into a parking lot where he hit another car.

The station reports that the prosecutor says Verwer got out of the car and made various gestures and walked away from the scene and down the street where he was arrested.

He was arrested and transported to a mental health facility.

The judge on Tuesday issued an order appointing a public defender, but it's not clear if one has been assigned. Payette County officials didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press.

Verwer's preliminary hearing will be scheduled after he undergoes a psychiatric evaluation.

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