FARMINGTON — A man accused of pushing his girlfriend out of a vehicle traveling 65 mph has struck a plea deal.
Brandon Sloper, 25, pleaded no contest Wednesday in 2nd District Court to aggravated assault, a second-degree felony with a domestic violence sentencing enhancer, and unlawful detention, a class B misdemeanor. He was originally charged with two felonies, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.
In 2011, prosecutors say Sloper got into a fight with his then girlfriend, AshLee Bambrough, while driving her to work. The altercation became physical and Sloper broke one of Bambrough's fingers.
The fight culminated when Bambrough said she was pushed out of the vehicle that was traveling about 65 mph on state Route 193 near Layton. She suffered skull fractures, brain damage, a broken hand, multiple cuts and bruises and lost a significant amount of blood.
Bambrough, 24, has undergone multiple surgeries since the incident, some to remove pea- and corn-sized gravel embedded in her head.
A plea of no contest means a defendant does not admit guilt, but there would be a strong likelihood of conviction if the case went to trial. For sentencing purposes, such a plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.
"I think we did great. He was the one who wanted to do a no contest and in court that's considered a guilty plea. So I feel great about this," Bambrough said. "I was willing, ready to go to trial, but I'm glad I don't have to either to get to this same point. This is definitely a huge weight off my shoulders."
Sloper faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 5. At that time, Bambrough will be allowed to address the judge and the ex-boyfriend.
"It'll be good for him to know what I've been feeling and what I've gone through for the past 15 months," she said Thursday. "I hope … he gets a prison sentence and he is put away for a long time so this doesn't happen to any other girl."
She fears the next woman might not be as "lucky" to just end up in a hospital bed for a while.
In 2007, Sloper was involved in an unrelated domestic violence case, according to court records. That case did not involve Bambrough. He ended up pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges in Clinton City Justice Court.
Bambrough said she feels she is about 80 percent of where she was before being pushed out of the vehicle. She still sees a doctor and a therapist, has problems with short term memory and doesn't have feeling in one hand.
"I'm still going through a lot, but I'm definitely better than I was last December," she said.
Since suffering her horrific injuries, Bambrough has become active in speaking out against domestic violence. A Facebook page was created, "Team AshLee," to both update others on her case and to raise awareness.
She has also spoken about her experience at various events, including to high school groups across the state.
Bambrough continues to work closely with Your Community Connection in Ogden, a group aimed at helping domestic violence survivors. On Oct. 20, she'll be involved in a charity event to raise money for the YCC.