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Meagan Dakota Grunwald
Prosecutor: Utah teen ‘active participant’ in cop shootings
Charges » Meagan Grunwald faces multiple felony counts as an accomplice in the shootings and officer’s death.
First Published Feb 19 2014 10:12 am • Last Updated Apr 15 2014 10:44 am

Spanish Fork • Seventeen-year-old Meagan Dakota Grunwald was not simply "along for the ride" during a two-county shooting spree and chase, during which she drove while her boyfriend allegedly shot and killed one officer and seriously injured another, Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said during a Wednesday press conference.

She was an "active participant" in the alleged crimes, Taylor said.

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While 27-year-old Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui is accused of pulling the trigger, prosecutors claim the teen girl is just as responsible for the death of Utah County Attorney Sgt. Cory Wride for allegedly driving her truck during the Jan. 30 shooting spree.

"We’ve charged her with regards to aiding and abetting, and being an accessory to the crime," Taylor said. "We know she’s 17, she’s young, but she is absolutely as culpable under Utah law as he is."

Grunwald, of Draper, was charged Tuesday as an adult in 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. Taylor said her case is not eligible for the death penalty because she is a minor.

Thirteen other charges were filed against the teen, including two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and aggravated robbery — all first-degree felonies — along with charges of felony obstructing justice, failure to respond to an officer, possession or use of a controlled substance and lesser charges of felony discharge of a firearm, and misdemeanor criminal mischief and violation of operator duties after an accident.

Though the alleged crime spree spanned both Utah and Juab counties, Taylor said Wednesday that charges will only be filed in Utah County.

Deputy Juab County Attorney AnnMarie Howard said Wednesday that attorneys from her office will work alongside Utah County prosecutors in the case.

"We were able to look back at the information Utah County had, and look at [Grunwald’s] actions and her behaviors," Howard said. "We fully believe she was complicit in her behavior."

Grunwald is scheduled to make an initial appearance on Monday at the Provo courthouse. She is being held at the Salt Lake County jail on $1 million cash-only bail.

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The teen is being represented by the Utah County Public Defender’s Office, who did not immediately return phone calls for comment on Wednesday.

Garcia-Jauregui died at a hospital on Jan. 31, the day after he allegedly shot and killed Wride and injured Utah County Deputy Greg Sherwood.

The deadly shooting spree began in Utah County at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Wride had stopped his patrol car to check on a pulled-over Toyota Tundra pickup truck with flashers blinking on State Road 73 between Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort. He spoke with Garcia-Jauregui and Grunwald, who was driving the truck.

Grunwald gave the sergeant her driver’s license, but Garcia-Jauregui gave Wride a false name. As Wride returned to his car and began searching police databases for information about Garcia-Jauregui, Grunwald put the truck in drive, but left her foot on the brake, according to court documents, which rely in part on the officer’s dash cam video.

About four minutes after Grunwald put the vehicle into drive, Garcia-Jauregui opened the back sliding window of the truck and began shooting at Wride. He fired seven shots at the sergeant’s car, according to police documents. Two rounds struck and killed Wride.

"She left that scene in a hurry," Taylor said Wednesday of Grunwald. "That’s an active participant."

Police believe Grunwald was still driving the truck when she fled south and encountered Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sherwood in Santaquin.

As Sherwood was following the truck in his patrol vehicle, prosecutors allege the teen girl braked suddenly — closing distance between her truck and Sherwood’s vehicle — while Garcia-Jauregui fired from the back window of the truck once more. Sherwood was struck once in the head.

Grunwald continued to drive south on Interstate 15, according to prosecutors, when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper attempted to pull over the truck. Again, Garcia-Jauregui fired out the back window of the truck, but the trooper was not hit.

Eventually, Grunwald’s truck hit spike strips deployed by officers in Juab County. After the tires were spiked, Garcia-Jauregui allegedly fired toward a semi truck, damaging three tires. As the semi truck’s tires were shot out, Grunwald crashed her truck into another vehicle, according to court documents.

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