New Year's Day driver faces aggravated homicide charges


SUBLETTE COUNTY – The woman charged with aggravated homicide while intoxicated – killing a Pinedale man in a New Year’s Day collision in Hoback Canyon – made her first court appearance on Monday morning, Jan. 4.

Jade S. Jewkes, 28, who lives in Thayne and works in Jackson, was arrested Jan. 1 after her 2015 Jeep Cherokee collided with a 1993 Ford pickup driven by Shane Deal, 39, on Friday afternoon, Jan. 1, on Highway 191 past Granite Hot Springs Road.

Deal was returning from Idaho where he just bought the F250 truck, fitted with a plow blade, to drive back to Pinedale, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Klief Guenther. His sister was following him back.

“We believe he was below the (55-mph) speed limit by about 10 miles an hour,” he said. Jewkes might have been driving 10 miles faster than the speed limit; the investigation and reconstruction are ongoing.

 

Circumstances

Dispatch passed on a REDDI report about Jewkes’ erratic driving as she traveled north on Highway 191 from the Pinedale area where she had stayed with friends, Guenther said.

WHP Trooper Benjamin Kiel of Pinedale was also heading north to respond to a serious snowmobile accident near Granite Hot Springs. A Jackson trooper there was coming out to help him locate Jewkes’ Jeep.

Kiel thought she turned off near Bondurant and started turning around at milepost 150.

But a southbound driver flashed lights at him and reported a head-on collision had just happened only 1.6 miles north. The trooper was on scene within 2 minutes of the REDDI call, according to Guenther.

Trooper Kiel found the Ford pickup with heavy front-end damage, facing south in the southbound lane, according to his affidavit. Although Deal wore a seatbelt, the truck did not have airbags and the steering wheel crushed into his chest, he reported.

Two nurses helping Deal were among those who stopped. Just past the truck, the heavily damaged Cherokee faced south in the northbound lane. Jewkes wore a seatbelt and her airbags deployed; she suffered minor cuts to her fingers, the trooper reported.

Jewkes reportedly said she had drank a lot and refused to take a portable breathalyzer test or answer questions.

Witnesses also driving north reported they passed Jewkes and she passed them, crossing over into the other lane and finally driving head-on into Deal’s pickup. During the collision, her Jeep angled into the driver’s side of the truck behind the plow, according to Guenther. There was no place for Deal to swerve to avoid being hit, he added.

Kiel bandaged Jewkes’ fingers and EMS arrived – she was “uncooperative” with them as well, he said. An ambulance took her to St. John’s Hospital in Jackson.

Emergency responders also treated Deal and a life-flight helicopter landed on the highway to take him to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

At the same time, another life-flight was called to rescue the snowmobiler injured up Granite Creek, Guenther said. Due to bad weather, Deal’s life-flight could not land at Idaho Falls and he was brought to St. John’s, where he was operated on while a second life-flight was planned – but he was later pronounced dead. Deal arrived at St. John’s 20 minutes later by helicopter than Jewkes did by ambulance, Guenther added.

In the emergency room, Trooper Kiel told Jewkes she was under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

“At this point Deal was still alive but had life-threatening injuries,” he reported.

A nurse drew Jewkes’ blood and Kiel tried to interview but she refused. She was treated and hospital staff said Jewkes tried to cut her wrist with a piece of glass in a suicide attempt. A counselor spoke with her and around 11 p.m. she was cleared to travel with Trooper Kiel to the Sublette County Jail. She was detained under suicide watch, according to the affidavit.

“Both of the troopers feel very, very bad,” Guenther said of how the exact circumstances ended in the fatal collision. “His sister was behind him and saw all of this.”

 

Court

Jewkes is charged in Sublette County with two felony counts of aggravated homicide, one for driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher and one for being intoxicated to the degree of being incapable of safely driving. She is also charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

The videoconference initial appearance before Judge Curt Haws on Jan. 4 showed a somber Deal family gathered at home, Jewkes’ parents holding hands behind defense attorney John LaBuda and Jewkes herself in custody, weeping throughout the hearing.

Judge Haws explained the charges, penalties, bail and the Jan. 25 preliminary hearing where he will decide if there is cause to bond over the felony charges to 9th District Court. The videoconference hearing is set for 1:30 p.m.

Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson requested $75,000 cash-only bond – “Obviously she has demonstrated herself to be a serous threat to the community.”

LaBuda asked for a bond of $50,000 cash or surety. Jewkes is employed as a loan officer at a Jackson bank and owns a house in Thayne, he said. Her parents live in Jackson and wanted her there, after removing all knives, firearms and anything dangerous to Jewkes’ wellbeing, LaBuda said.

She should be restricted to Teton County to live and work and Sublette County for court appearances, he said, “to alleviate the rightful concerns Mr. Crosson has.”

Crosson requested a $150,000 cash or surety bond; Judge Haws agreed. Jewkes was released from custody that day after posting bond. She is prohibited from driving, using alcohol or controlled substances or contacting the Deal family.

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