This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Farmington • A Utah woman was sentenced to prison Wednesday for her role in the first of a series of carjackings in February that ultimately led to a fatal crash.
Michelle Jenny Vigil, 22, had pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree felony robbery, admitting that she stole a woman's car on Feb. 1, along with co-defendant Anthony Santos Cruz.
A 2nd District judge on Wednesday sentenced Vigil to a one-to-15 year prison term for each count, and ordered the sentences to run concurrent to one another.
"It shouldn't have happened," Vigil said tearfully during her sentencing hearing. "It impacted a lot of lives and I'm sorry."
Vigil's attorney, Michael Edwards, emphasized to the judge that his client had nothing to do with a subsequent carjacking and crash that killed 21-year-old Jazmyn Jeppson.
"[Vigil] had already been placed in custody when [Cruz] carjacked the car [involved in the fatal crash]," Edwards said. "… I don't think it's proper or appropriate to place that at my client's feet."
Events began at about 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, when a woman called 911 and reported that her car, a Mazda 6, had been stolen on Mutton Hollow Drive, in Kaysville, after a man and a woman ran up to her vehicle.
"They pulled a knife on me and told me to get out of my car," the emotional woman told a dispatcher. "… She told me he was trying to attack her. She ran up and grabbed my door."
Vigil later admitted to her sister in a recorded jail phone call that Cruz held the knife, but that she was "kind of bait."
The two suspects drove away, but the Mazda 6 broke down a few minutes later on the freeway in Centerville, according to court records. Cruz attempted to steal a second car, but that carjacking failed.
A few minutes later, a Unified Police officer on his way to work drove up to the apparently stalled Mazda, which was stopped on southbound Interstate 15 near Lund Lane in Centerville. The officer was initially unaware that the Mazda was stolen.
Cruz and Vigil told him they had run out of gas, according to court records. But the suspicious officer contacted dispatchers and learned the vehicle had been stolen moments before.
Vigil tried to run away, while Cruz ran to a nearby Volkswagen and, after the driver jumped out, sped away south.
The fatal crash occurred moments later, when Cruz took the Parrish Lane exit, went through the intersection of the offramp and Parrish Lane and struck Jeppson's car, according to police.
Cruz, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony robbery. He was sentenced last week to serve concurrent terms of 15-years-to-life for the murder one-to-15 years for the robbery.