SANTAQUIN — Five years after a crime spree that stretched from Utah County to Juab County and left a Utah County sheriff’s sergeant dead, another deputy who was critically wounded paid a visit to the place he was shot.
Greg Sherwood’s life was forever altered near 100 E. Main St. on Jan. 30, 2014, when he had nearly caught up to deceased coworker Cory Wride’s suspected killers, shooter Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui and his girlfriend Meagan Grunwald, who had been evading police in a white Toyota Tundra.
On that day, the suspects’ truck made an abrupt stop.
“This is where I get shot right here,” Sherwood pointed from his SUV Thursday, pausing briefly in the road. “I put my car in park, and this is where I stay — I’m unconscious.”
Sherwood continued to retrace the couple’s path as he sat badly injured.
“The suspect vehicle comes up here, they see that I’m down,” Sherwood said. “They make a U-turn here at this Santa Queen (Drive Inn). They actually turned here and they hit into a snow bank and they see that I’m still parked there. They come back. In my video, it shows them passing me.”
Garcia-Juaregui went on to be shot and killed by police in Juab County. Grunwald was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Sherwood survived but was left facing a lengthy road of recovery with a traumatic brain injury, balance, memory and speech troubles.
“I prayed for protection,” Sherwood recalled. “Religion was a big part of recovery.”
Also central to the deputy’s recovery was revisiting the site where he was shot. The first time proved to be stressful.
“Coming back here was a trigger,” Sherwood said. “The heart rate would go up, I’d get nervous, I’d have the pit in your stomach — it was a tough thing because this is the location where my life changed forever.”
Still, he said, continuing to come back to the site proved therapeutic.
“I could go and look at this spot and still be OK — it’s a safe place,” Sherwood said.
Over time, the intersection developed personal significance.
“It represents change, it represents … determination,” said Sherwood, choking up. “Determination and taking my life back.”
Sherwood said he decided to share his story so others in law enforcement could learn and gain for it. He said he was similarly impressed when Utah State Parks Ranger Brody Young decided to talk publicly about the shooting in Moab that nearly took his life.
“We all know we can get injured on duty — it’s the reality,” Sherwood said. “My biggest motivating factor was this person had already taken so much from the sheriff’s office, from the law enforcement community, from myself and my family — I wasn’t going to let him take any more from me.”
Sherwood, who continues to work full-time in the deputy role he “loves,” said the ordeal changed his perspective and encouraged other deputies and officers to never give up and to continue to fight for what they want in life.
“Not taking life for granted, enjoying life, enjoying the people you are around and family, having no regrets,” Sherwood said. “Telling people you care about that you care about them and you love them and just live life — live life to the fullest.”