Man charged with manslaughter in fatal crash moves to preliminary hearing

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SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly two years after a fiery crash killed a graduate student from Westminster, the case against the man accused of causing the crash is moving forward.

Judge Judith Atherton found there was enough evidence to send the manslaughter case against Shane Gillette to trial. Gillette was charged in Jan. 2011 with second-degree manslaughter and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

Julie Jorgenson, 26, was stopped at the 300 East and 500 South intersection on her way home from the gym on Jan. 6, 2011 around 5:30 a.m. Gillette allegedly crashed into her while driving about 70 miles per hour. Jorgenson's car burst into flames and the woman died on impact, police said.

Thursday, pictures of the crash were shown in court and police officers from the Salt Lake City Police department testified that they found a glass marijuana pipe in Gillette's truck. They also testified that the windows of the truck were frosted over with only a small area scraped clean to see though.

The state presented the toxicology report from the accident, revealing Gillette had active and metabolite THC in his system.

The case has been delayed over question of Gillette's mental competency, but he was found competent to stand trial.

"Because of the accident he had some brain injuries, so that's why it has taken so long," said State Prosecutor Sandi Johnson.

Johnson says the evidence against Gillette is strong and it's time for the family to finally have some closure on this case. Jorgenson's family said they are grateful this case is finally moving forward.

"It just takes us back, unfair it was," said family member Jane Sims.

The next hearing will be held on Dec. 17, at which time the judge will set a date for trial.

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Shara Park and Sam Penrod


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