Provo • If her case goes to trial, 17-year-old Meagan Dakota Grunwald will testify in her own defense that she was forced by her boyfriend to drive her truck during a high-speed manhunt while the boyfriend shot at police, her attorney said Thursday.
No one has heard Grunwald’s story, defense attorney Dean Zabriskie told reporters Thursday, just moments after the girl was ordered to stand trial on 12 charges related to the murder of one police officer, and the shooting and wounding of another.
Zabriskie claims Grunwald is a victim who will testify that her boyfriend, 27-year-old Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui, forced her to run from police.
"Her choices were reduced to either comply or give up her own life," Zabriskie said.
Grunwald is charged as an adult with aggravated murder for the Jan. 30 death of Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride on a road near Lehi, and attempted aggravated murder for the wounding of Utah County sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sherwood in Santaquin.
Authorities have alleged Grunwald, of Draper, was an active participant in the crimes, although her boyfriend — who was fatally wounded by police — is believed to be the shooter.
After two days of watching hours of dash-cam footage, looking at photos, and hearing testimony from law enforcement officers and others who became entangled in the crime spree, 4th District Judge Darold McDade ruled Thursday there was probable cause for Grunwald to stand trial on all 12 charges.
That ruling was a "relief" to Wride’s family, brother-in-law Johnny Revill said.
"We’re confident, as a family, that justice will be served," he said.
Zabriskie said he had d expected the teen would be bound over for trial, but when asked how his client was doing, he said Grunwald "was traumatized."
The teen will be back in court on May 12 for an arraignment.
Grunwald’s hearing began Wednesday with prosecutors playing dash-cam video from Wride’s vehicle — footage that documents the last moments of Wride’s life.
Events began in Utah County at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 30, when Wride stopped his patrol car on State Road 73 about 5 miles west of Lehi to check on a Toyota Tundra pickup truck that was stopped on the shoulder.
Wride was sitting in his patrol car checking information given to him by Grunwald, who was allegedly driving, and Garcia-Jauregui, when the man allegedly opened the back sliding window of the truck and began shooting at the officer.
Seven shots were fired toward Wride, Sgt. Scott Finch, with the Utah County Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations, testified Wednesday. The first two struck the windshield, and killed Wride.
The pickup driver then drove away, setting off a manhunt that turned into a two-county high-speed chase which would leave another officer injured, multiple cars damaged and the gunman fatally wounded.
Police believe the girl was still at the wheel when she and Garcia-Jauregui encountered Sherwood in Santaquin more than an hour after Wride was killed.
Dash-cam video from Sherwood’s patrol vehicle shows he caught up to the pickup truck as it was going west on the town’s Main Street.
Sirens are heard blaring on the dash-cam audio as the pickup truck suddenly slows down — closing distance between the truck and Sherwood’s vehicle — and a pop can be heard. Sherwood’s car then stops.
Moments later, Sherwood informed dispatchers he had been shot through the windshield.
A photo of Sherwood’s vehicle shown in court shows that one bullet hole hit the windshield, and another struck the hood before ricocheting into the windshield.Next Page >
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