SALT LAKE CITY — A woman accused of plowing a car into a group of people on a street corner last July, killing one woman, has been ordered to stand trial.
Shutney Lee Kyzer, 37, is charged in 3rd District Court with leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a third-degree felony; unauthorized control of a vehicle for an extended time, a third-degree felony; and driving on the sidewalk, an infraction.
Prosecutors allege Kyzer drove onto the sidewalk near 425 W. 200 South and hit six pedestrians. Kendra Griffis, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene. Five others suffered injuries ranging from broken femurs to fractured ribs as well as hip and leg injuries.
Kyzer did not speak and her attorney did not call any witnesses during the hearing, during which 3rd District Judge Amber Mettler found there was sufficient evidence to bind the case over for trial. The judge's finding is not a determination of guilt.
A man injured in the crash, Lee McCashland, took the witness stand during a preliminary hearing Monday to testify he never saw vehicle coming. He was seated on the sidewalk, his feet in the gutter, talking with a friend "enjoying the 4th of July evening" when he was hit, he said.
"I didn't realize exactly what had happened until I was coming to and saw the driver get out and run," he said.
While lying on the sidewalk, McCashland said, he didn't initially realize how badly he had been hurt, but the "soul" of his stepson, who had died the previous year of a drug overdose, urged him not to get up. If he had, McCashland believes his broken femur would have become a compound fracture.
McCashland underwent surgery for his injuries, which left him with a large rod and screws in his leg.
"Stairs are a bugger for me to go up, and I can't move very fast either," McCashland said.
Surveillance footage shown during the hearing recorded the tan Mazda that Kyzer was allegedly driving leaving the road and drifting up onto the sidewalk. Another video showed Kyzer, breathless, as she hurried away from the scene across a nearby TRAX platform.
According to Kyzer's boss, Stephen Bolinder, Kyzer was long overdue for her shift at The Dog Show, a Sugar House pet grooming business, when she called to report she wouldn't be there the day after the accident.
Bollinder testified Monday that Kyzer told him she was out of state and wouldn't be coming to work, then broke down in tears when he asked why.
"I could barely audibly hear her say she had ran people over and she thought one of them was dead," Bollinder testified.
Bollinder said Kyzer told him she had taken a Xanax and blacked out behind the wheel.
Because it was payday, Kyzer also asked whether a family member could come pick up her check, but Bollinder said he told her he couldn't release the money to anyone but her.
Bollinder said he also urged Kyzer to contact police and turn herself in, in hopes of getting some leniency. Kyzer claimed she had been in contact with a parole officer, who had told her to stay where she was, according to Bollinder.
Police tracked Kyzer down through a friend's phone number, which she had listed with her employer. Following her arrest, Salt Lake police detective David Knaub said he spoke briefly with Kyzer, describing her as "frantic" and "emotional," insisting she knew she was headed back to prison.
As they talked, Knaub said, Kyzer told him she had taken a friend's car without permission, knowing the power steering in the vehicle had problems, to go the area near the Road Home shelter to purchase Spice.3 comments on this story
After purchasing the drug, Kyzer said she was smoking it while she drove and was making a right turn when she blacked out, Knaub testified. She also told the officer she had taken seven Xanax the night before.
Kyzer was on parole at the time of the collision. In 2009, she had been sentenced to one to 15 years in prison for burglary and kidnapping, according to court records. In 2014, she was convicted of possessing methamphetamine and Spice. In 2016, Kyzer was convicted of assault for punching a fellow inmate.
Arraignment in the case is scheduled for Feb. 2.