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Crash victim at center of nurse arrest controversy remains in critical condition

SALT LAKE CITY — The reserve police officer at the center of a blood draw request that prompted the high-profile arrest of a University Hospital nurse remains in critical condition, his family said Wednesday.

Bill Gray, a truck driver and reserve member of the Rigby Police Department in Idaho, was severely burned July 26 in a fiery head-on crash[1] near Wellsville in Cache County. The driver of a pickup truck trying to evade officers crossed suddenly into oncoming traffic, slamming into Gray’s semitrailer and killing the fleeing driver, according to police.

In a statement released Wednesday with an update on Gray’s condition, family members called the impact “explosive,” engulfing his truck in flames.

“Still, Bill was able to stop and exit his truck and police were able to put out the flames on his body,” Gray’s family wrote in the statement.

Gray was rushed to the burn unit at University Hospital in Salt Lake City with burns on 46 percent of his body and a 22 percent chance at survival, the family said. After he arrived, investigators requested a sample of his blood, though police do not suspect he was impaired.

Because the Salt Lake police detective who came to procure the blood draw didn’t have a warrant, and because Gray was not under arrest and could not consent, nurse Alex Wubbels denied the procedure under hospital policy. After a tense and lengthy encounter, the detective grabbed Wubbels, ignoring her screams as he dragged her outside and stuffed her into a police cruiser, claiming she was interfering with a police investigation.

Dramatic video[2] of the encounter became public Aug. 31 and quickly spread worldwide, bringing the department under intense scrutiny[3]. The detective, Jeff Payne, and his supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, have both been placed on leave and investigations[4] by the Unified Police Department and FBI are underway.

“I’m glad she (nurse Wubbels) was protecting my husband and I love our police community,” April Gray said in the statement.

She went on to add, “I’m deeply grateful to the Logan police officers who helped Bill on the scene of the accident, as well as all the medical staff who have treated him since then. They have all been wonderful.”

Gray remained in critical condition Wednesday, following weeks of treatment to remove burned skin, three skin graft procedures and preparation for more, and efforts to fight off infection in his injured skin and lungs, according to the family. Additionally, Gray’s badly damaged hands will require several surgeries and extensive therapy, they said.

To support Gray’s mounting medical bills and the costs to allow his wife, April Gray, to travel between Salt Lake and Rigby, Idaho, to care for him, family members have established two accounts for donations.

Those wishing to contribute to the Gray family can donate to the William Gray Fund at Zion’s Bank or through GoFundMe campaign[5] titled “Bill Gray Accident Fund.” As of Wednesday, the online fundraiser had received more than $16,000.


  1. ^ head-on crash (www.deseretnews.com)
  2. ^ Dramatic video (www.deseretnews.com)
  3. ^ intense scrutiny (www.deseretnews.com)
  4. ^ investigations (www.deseretnews.com)
  5. ^ GoFundMe campaign (www.gofundme.com)

Brakes on 3 axles failed before potato truck slammed transit bus

Jonathan Hollenbeck finished his classes at Kennewick High School when he boarded the Ben Franklin Transit bus to head home Tuesday afternoon.

The Route 47 bus connects east and west Kennewick with a detour through the Southridge area.

His stepmother, Gabby Hollenbeck, was waiting to catch the same bus on Metaline Avenue. Jonathan normally gets off the bus at that stop when she’s climbing aboard to go to work.

But Tuesday the bus didn’t show up and the 34-year-old Kennewick woman starting seeing news alerts on her phone that a bus was broadsided by a potato truck on Highway 395.


Jonathan Hollenbeck

Courtesy Aaron Hollenbeck

Truck driver Zurisday Moya-Jimenez, 33, of Umatilla, was behind the wheel of the semi heading north into Kennewick toward at 55 mph. The light turned red. He stepped on the brakes — and they didn’t work.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson confirmed Wednesday that initial tests show the brakes on three of the truck’s four axles failed.

Witnesses told investigators that Moya-Jimenez did the only thing he could while piloting what had become a potato-filled battering ram. He laid on the horn in an attempt to warn other drivers that he was out of control, said Thorson.

Houston McDaniel, 15, of Kennewick, was riding the transit bus home when he saw the truck barrelling toward them, but didn’t think much of it.

“I didn’t quite realize that it would hit us until it did,” he told the Herald. “I closed my eyes on impact and when I opened them I was sitting on the floor, waist deep in potatoes.”

He was badly bruised but was not hospitalized.

Jonathan Hollenbeck was not as lucky.

The 15-year-old freshman was sitting behind the bus driver as the bus entered the intersection of Highway 395 and Hildebrand Boulevard just after 3 p.m.

He was on the side of the bus slammed by the truck and was the most seriously injured. Doctors later diagnosed him with a ruptured spleen, a broken pelvis and a concussion.

I didn’t quite realize that it would hit us until it did. I closed my eyes on impact and when I opened them I was sitting on the floor, waist deep in potatoes.

Houston McDaniel

When Gabby saw the posts online of the crash and the crumpled remains of the bus, she knew it was Jonathan’s bus.

“I tried to locate Jonathan first,” she told the Herald. “I didn’t want to create any extra worries.”

“At the time, I was thinking he had a broken arm, maybe a broken leg, and that’s why he wasn’t able to get back to me (by text message),” Gabby said. “The more I thought about it, the more I felt like something was wrong.”

While she was trying to reach other relatives to go to the scene, investigators were trying to find Jonathan’s ID and contact school officials.

They found the boy’s uncle, who was listed as his emergency contact, who then reached Jonathan’s father, Aaron. Jonathan’s family arrived just as he was being taken into surgery.

“They had sedated him, and he was fighting it because he was out of it,” Gabby said.

They had sedated him and he was fighting it because he was out of it.

Gabby Hollenbeck

Surgeons removed his spleen and, since then, he’s been in and out of consciousness.

“There were no complications with the surgery. It went really good,” she said. “The only thing that might cause him problems is the break in his pelvis, but the doctors are optimistic that it will heal just fine.”

The teen was moved out of intensive care earlier on Wednesday and will likely spend a few days in the hospital before he’s sent home.

The remains of the Ben Franklin bus are at the district’s transit center. Kurt Workman, a spokesman for the agency said it will cost about $424,000 to replace the bus.

“Really our concern is for the safety of our driver and the passengers on the bus,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the people that were hurt, but we’re grateful it wasn’t worse.”

The female bus driver and two other passengers also were checked at area hospitals but not admitted.

The investigation is continuing, Thorson said. The semi was part of a fleet of trucks owned by a private company, and troopers are examining the vehicle maintenance inspection reports.


Sussex Co. venue could be impacted by changes in event ordinances

Sussex Co. venue could be impacted by…

MILTON, Del. – A popular Delaware venue for concerts, festivals, and sports events is now at the center of debate. The location is Hudson Fields in Milton, business owners say if certain regulations within the county are changed that could spell trouble for their bottom line.

“My grandfather and father started back in 1952, they had air shows. We’ve had food truck fests, and we have scheduled 5 concerts for this year,” says Christian Hudson, one of the owners of Hudson Fields.

However, the venue could soon be pumping the brakes on hosting future events,  that’s if changes are made to county legislation.

Sussex county officials have been discussing changing special events rules, such as putting a cap to event size and frequency.

“If we are capped at a certain level, just an arbitrary of level, we would be forced to pick and choose what kind of events we can and can’t do,” says Hudson.

County officials tell 47 ABC this discussion came about after a resident raised questions about concerts on Hudson Fields causing them to look over current regulations, but Hudson believes it has to do with noise complaints in the area.

“It’s very strange to shut down our business that has been operating for decades because of 3-4 complainers,” says Hudson.

Community members in favor of the venue won’t let this go without a fight. Locals have started an online petition called Save Hudson Fields Concerts[1].

In the last weeks this petition has gathered over a thousand signatures, with dozens of comments asking the community to support the venue.

“It is really humbling to see people coming out to defend us and say that we are doing , and they want to see us do more,” says Hudson.

County officials say no legislation has been drafted yet and making changing regulations are still in early stages of discussion.

A spokesperson for the county says no dates have been set on when the county will revisit the legislation.


  1. ^ Save Hudson Fields Concerts (www.thepetitionsite.com)