Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui

PROVO — Rather than go to trial, a man who police say ran over a friend with his car after a birthday party and then hit the birthday boy in the head with a metal object pleaded no contest to two felony charges on Monday.

"(Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui) felt like it was in his best interest to take the deal offered by the state," said his attorney Andy Howell.

Prosecutors lowered a first-degree felony charge of attempted murder with injury to attempted murder, a second-degree felony. They also lowered a second-degree felony aggravated assault to an aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, a third-degree felony.

As part of the deal, prosecutor Randy Kennard also dropped another case of third-degree felony assault by prisoner that stemmed from a fight at the Utah County Jail. Garcia-Juaregui will be sentenced April 21.

Just after midnight on Aug. 7, 2007, Springville police got a call that a man had been run over by a car, then stabbed with a screwdriver.

Witnesses reported a second man had been hit in the head with a tire iron or a crowbar, according to an affidavit in support of a warrant filed in 4th District Court.

Police responded to the area of 100 West and 200 South and talked with the witnesses, who said Garcia-Juaregui, 21, pulled up in front of the house of his passenger, Jose Sida, and shoved Sida out onto the road, according to the affidavit.

The hostility between the two men started at the Provo party where they had been drinking beer and rapping at each other, according to the affidavit. But after a while, the raps became offensive, and the men got angry.

They fought as they drove home to Springville, but the confrontation didn't end when Garcia-Juaregui shoved his passenger out in front of his Springville home.

After he dumped Sida on the road, Garcia-Juaregui drove forward slightly, then reversed, running over Sida's hip. He sped away and pulled a U-turn about a block later, according to the affidavit.

As the witnesses tried to pull Sida to his feet, Garcia-Juaregui drove back toward Sida, and the witnesses had to drag Sida off the road to prevent him being run over again, according to the affidavit.

Garcia-Juaregui then parked, got out and began attacking Sida with a Phillips screwdriver, stabbing him multiple times in the calf, buttocks, tail bone, back shoulder, neck, abdomen and chest, according to the affidavit.

The third passenger and birthday celebrator, Juan Otero, got out of the car and tried to stop Garcia-Juaregui, who then shifted his aggression.

Garcia-Juaregui got something metal from his trunk — witnesses couldn't see exactly what — and began attacking Otero. After several hits and kicks to Otero's face, Garcia-Juaregui fled the scene, according to the affidavit.

During the entry-of-plea hearing Monday, Garcia-Juaregui asked the judge if he would have time during the sentencing to explain his actions.

Howell said they disagree slightly with the way prosecutors described the second part of that night.

When police tried to contact him after the attacks, they learned Garcia-Juaregui had quit his job and told employers that family problems necessitated his departure.

He eluded police for nearly two months until he was arrested on Nov. 20 on the warrant issued by Springville officers.

He was scheduled to begin a four-day jury trial April 1.