New details released after April wrong-way collision that killed teen in Murray

Justin Wayne Robertson. Photo Courtesy: Salt Lake County Jail

MURRAY, Utah, May 8, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — More information has been released on a wrong-way collision that killed 19-year-old Gwen Doner April 19 in Murray.

Suspect Justin Wayne Robertson, who turned 36 today, was driving his Chevy Avalanche pickup west in an eastbound lane of Interstate 215 when allegedly he caused the fatal collision, then attempted to flee, says new information released Friday.

Robertson “fled on foot and was apprehended a short distance from the scene by Unified Police Officers. Robertson told Officer S. Franchow that he crashed his truck and then stated, “Did I kill anybody? I was trying to kill myself.”

Doner was pinned in her Ford Taurus, and had to be extracted.

She “suffered significant internal injuries and blunt force trauma from the collision,” Robertson’s probable cause statement says.

Gwen Doner. Photo: Utah Highway Patrol/Utah DPS

Doner was flown to a nearby hospital by medical helicopter, and she died shortly later. Her passenger, her boyfriend, was injured, but survived.

A records check on Robertson revealed he had no insurance, and his driver license had expired nearly a year earlier.

Robertson also faces in connection with a retail theft and criminal mischief that occurred shortly before the fatal accident. In all April 19 events, he is charged with:

  • Murder, a first-degree felony
  • Driving with a measurable controlled substance in the body and causing serious bodily injury or death, a second-degree felony
  • Failure to respond to officer’s signal to stop, a third-degree felony
  • Failure to stop at a serious injury accident, a third-degree felony
  • Criminal mischief, a third-degree felony
  • Failure to stop at injury accident, a class A misdemeanor
  • Possession or use of a controlled substances, a class A misdemeanor
  • Retail theft, a class B misdemeanor
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked operator’s license, a class C misdemeanor
  • No insurance, a class C misdemeanor
  • Failed to operate vehicle on the right side of a one-way street, an infraction

Prior to driving the wrong way on I-215, Robertson had stolen a pack of cigarettes
from a Sinclair at 2995 E. Fort Union Boulevard, his new probable cause statement says.

Contacted by officers, the clerk stated Robertson swiped his card, but did not enter the pin before taking the cigarettes and walking back to his truck. The clerk went out and told Robertson he had not paid, and Robertson “fled the parking lot at a high rate of speed,” the statement says. Officers viewed surveillance video and confirmed the suspect was Robertson, the statement says.

Robertson was next seen at the Unified Police Department Canyon substation, at 7480 S. 3700 East, the statement says.

Officer E. Twohill, “heard a loud booming noise and tires screeching. He ran outside and saw a Chevy truck leaving northbound on 2700 East at a high rate of speed. Officer Twohill got into his patrol car, turned on his emergency equipment, and followed the Chevy through several streets,” Robertson’s probable cause statement says.

“The Chevy did not pull over, but instead went onto the 6200 South off ramp for I-215 in the direction of oncoming traffic. Officer Twohill followed the Chevy onto the off ramp to warn the public, to try to prevent a serious crash, and pulled over when the cars on I-215 saw his patrol car.”

After the collision, Robertson was taken into custody and drive to Intermountain Health Care to be checked out by medical personnel. Trooper Jensen asked Robertson if he was drunk or impaired on any drugs, the statement says.

“Robertson stated that he was high and that he had consumed drugs 30 minutes prior to the crash. Robertson said that he had dope in his small pocket. Trooper Jensen removed a small Ziploc baggy containing field-tested positive methamphetamine.”

Post Miranda, Jensen asked Robertson if he realized he was driving the wrong way, the statement says.

“Robertson stated, ‘Yes, I did it on purpose because I wanted to end my life.’ Robertson said that he was traveling at 60 mph at the time of the accident. He said that he had smoked meth 10 minutes prior to running into the front end of the patrol vehicle. Robertson said that he had done it on purpose and that he wanted to start something due to being mad at his life.”

Robertson reportedly told the officer “that he was looking for an off ramp after driving wrong way. This led him to the collector ramp where the collision occurred. Robertson said this happened not because he was high, but because he had done it on purpose.”

A blood test administered after a warrant was granted showed that Robertson’s blood tested positive for methamphetamine, THC, and amphetamines.”

Trooper Jensen determined that Robertson began driving the wrong way when he
entered the 6200 South off ramp for I-215, and drove about six miles in the wrong direction before he collided head-on with the Ford Taurus.

“The crash scene provided no evidence that Robertson attempted to avoid the collision,” the statement says.

In addition, Robertson has two other active cases in the court system, from 2019 and earlier in 2021, the officer noted. Both are for alleged aggravated assault of older family members.

Robertson is being held without bail.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here