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Outside agency to determine whether Utah Co. deputy will be charged with student's death

Joseph Spencer vehicle
Posted at 3:25 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 17:25:14-05

PROVO, Utah — The Summit County Attorney will make the decision on whether to charge a Utah County Sheriff's Deputy in the death of a BYU student in March.

In a statement Tuesday, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said his office's investigation into incident has been completed, but will allow Summit County Attorney Margaret Olsen to review the matter independently and decide on if the deputy should be charged in the death of Joseph Spencer.

On March 16, the deputy, who is a member of the department's Critical Incident Team, was headed in his own vehicle to Pleasant Grove where a man had fired at police and barricaded himself inside a home.

According to police, Spencer was pulling out of a Taco Bell at 400 North and 900 East when he was struck by the deputy's pickup truck.

Multiple agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Utah County Attorney's Office.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said the decision to allow the Summit County Attorney to make the final decision was made out of the need to be impartial when reviewing departments and agencies within the county.

“Once the evidence is provided to the other county attorney’s office, it’s a hands-off process for us. We want that county attorney to review and make the charging decision with objectivity and fairness,” said Leavitt.

It's not known when Olsen will announce her decision.