Utah man to be tried for allegedly causing fiery crash
Julie Ann Jorgenson had her morning coffee and was on her way to the gym when the light turned red.
As she waited for the light to change early Jan. 6, 2011, a man in a pickup truck speeded down 500 South at about 70 mph. According to witnesses who testified at a preliminary hearing Thursday in 3rd District Court, the truck's windshield was frosted over and its driver, Shane Roy Gillette, had been smoking marijuana.
"Did you observe any evidence of braking," prosecutor Sandi Johnson asked a Salt Lake City police officer.
"No. None," officer Rick Simpson replied.
After hearing the evidence against Gillette, Judge Judith Atherton ordered the 37-year-old man to stand trial on charges of second-degree felony manslaughter, third-degree felony negligent operation of a vehicle, and misdemeanor counts of speeding and drug paraphernalia possession.
Gillette will be arraigned Dec. 17.
Jorgenson, who was driving a compact Mazda, died at the scene of the fiery crash, near 500 South and 300 East, where the speed limit is 30 mph.
Gillette suffered brain injuries as a result of the crash, which have slowed proceedings. Doctors, however, have said he is now fit to stand trial.
Nearly two years after the crash, Jorgenson's aunt said her family is pleased the case is moving forward.
"This has been a long wait for us," Jane Sims said. "It's going to be painful, but we hope to get justice for Julie."
Sims called her 26-year-old niece's death "heart breaking and unfair." She recalled the woman as "bright and beautiful."
"One of my fondest memories is her giggle," Sims said. "It was just like being with a 3-year-old. ... We miss that."