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Man arrested in fatal wrong-way crash on freeway charged in domestic violence incident

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File

Man arrested in fatal wrong-way crash on freeway charged in domestic violence incident

By Pat Reavy, KSL.com | Posted - May 2, 2021 at 11:50 a.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of killing a woman by hitting her car head on while driving the wrong way has been charged in a separate incident.

Prosecutors now want Justin Wayne Robertson held in the Salt Lake County Jail as they prepare to file potentially more serious charges against him.

Robertson, 35, of Cottonwood Heights, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, for an alleged domestic violence incident that prosecutors say happened on March 30.

He is accused of attacking his aunt, whom he lives with, when she told him to "quiet down" while he was "screaming and being extremely loud," according to charging documents. He hit his aunt in the head, face and chest, strangled her, and pulled her hair, the charges state, causing a cut on her chin and bruising and swelling all over her face.

During the incident, Robertson picked up his aunt by her neck and "threw her to the floor with her face hitting the concrete," court documents state.

In addition to his alleged violent behavior in that incident, prosecutors have requested that Robertson also be held without bail in the Salt Lake County Jail while the district attorney's office prepares more serious charges for an incident that happened 20 days later "which involves striking a police vehicle, driving on the wrong way on the freeway for approximately six miles in daytime traffic, crashing into another vehicle head-on severely injuring one occupant and killing the other as a result. Our office currently in the process of screening homicide charges for that incident."

On April 19, Robertson rammed a Unified police patrol car that was parked at the department's Cottonwood Heights substation, 7840 S. 2700 East, before driving off, according to police. Officers pursued Robertson until he entered I-215 at 6200 South going the wrong way.

Robertson's Chevy Avalanche, while driving the wrong way, hit a Ford Taurus driven by 19-year-old Gwendolyn Doner on the interchange from I-215 to southbound I-15 in Murray, a police affidavit states. Doner died less than two days later at a local hospital. Her boyfriend, Tyler Shoemaker, was also injured in the crash.

The motion for no bail also notes that Robertson was free on bail during the March 30 incident after being arrested and charged in another domestic violence-related case. In September 2019 he was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a gun at his father and threatening to shoot him, according to charging documents.

A judge agreed Thursday with prosecutors and ordered Robertson be held without bail.

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