Grand Junction man pleads guilty in fatal rollover

Jason Shriver

A Grand Junction man Wednesday agreed to a 15-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in a crash that killed his friend in 2011.

Jason Shriver, 39, pleaded guilty to a single count of vehicular homicide, while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in connection with a rollover crash Jan. 19, 2011, that killed 39-year-old Shannon Gallegos.

A plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office will allow Shriver to avoid a potentially much longer prison term. Prosecutors dismissed habitual criminal charges, among 11 total charges. Shriver had pleaded not guilty and was scheduled for trial later this year.

Shriver was arrested in April 2013 after a two-year Grand Junction police investigation, in a case made possible by DNA evidence from the crash scene, authorities said in an arrest affidavit.

A 1999 Ford Taurus rolled multiple times around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2011, near 2911 D 1/2 Road, ejecting Shriver and Gallegos, who was pronounced dead at the scene. At St. Mary’s Hospital, Shriver “nodded his head affirmatively” when asked by a Colorado State Patrol trooper if he was the driver, the affidavit said. Shriver allegedly admitted the same to a hospital employee.

Seven days later, however, Shriver told detectives he couldn’t remember who was driving.

According to the affidavit, tests showed Shriver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.248 percent, more than three times Colorado’s legal limit for alcohol while driving.

A spot of hair and skin left on a sidewalk by one of the vehicle occupants had been collected by investigating officers, which later matched Gallegos’ DNA profile, the affidavit said. Gallegos’ autopsy showed he suffered injuries to the right side of his head, including an abrasion to his scalp.

Based on where the material was found, and the vehicle’s path, officers surmised that only the passenger could have left the material on the sidewalk, the affidavit said. Gallegos’ blood was also found in five places around the passenger door, consistent with being thrown out the passenger window, the affidavit said.

Shriver will be sentenced Oct. 20.


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