A parolee who drove into a crowd of homeless people on the evening of July Fourth near The Road Home shelter was sentenced Friday to up to five years in prison.
Kendra Griffiths, 27, died of blunt force trauma after being struck.
Shutney Lee Kyzer, 38, cried as she was sentenced in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court for a third-degree felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. She also was sentenced to 365 days for negligent homicide. The prison terms will run concurrently.
“I feel bad that I took someone’s life. If I could take it back, I would,” she said. “I feel horrible about it.”
In courtroom testimony earlier, witnesses said Kyzer took a car without permission and drove to Rio Grande Street downtown to buy an illegal drug called spice.
Witnesses said Kyzer told them she smoked the drug in a 1999 Mazda 626 with another woman minutes before running down six people along 200 South near 400 West. The power steering in the sedan was not working properly, according to court records, when it jumped the curb.
Lee McCashland also was hit by the Mazda about 6 o’clock that evening. He suffered a fractured femur and spent several weeks in the hospital, according to courtroom testimony. He said he needed a walker for another three months. His injury keeps him from running and makes it difficult to climb stairs.
Witnesses said a woman wearing a red shirt fled the scene of the accident, running north along 400 West near the TRAX Planetarium Station. A video recovered from the platform clearly shows Kyzer in a red shirt.
Austin Bracken, an agent for the Utah Department of Corrections, was among a team that apprehended Kyzer the next day. He quoted the defendant as saying, “I didn’t mean to do it,” and, “I don’t know what happened.”
Kyzer had worked for Stephen Bolinder at a Salt Lake City dog grooming business. He testified that Kyzer was late for work on July 5 but called him just after noon to request her paycheck.
“She broke down crying and said she ran people over and thought some might be dead,” Bolinder said. “She said she had taken Xanax and blacked out.”
Kyzer had been paroled in April from the Utah State Prison, where she had been incarcerated since 2009 on burglary, kidnapping and robbery convictions, according to court records.