Guilty plea entered in death of deputy’s daughter

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EPHRATA — An Ephrata man has entered a guilty plea in connection with a July 2016 incident in which he plowed into the back of an off-duty corrections deputy Justin Grubb's truck. The crash resulted in the death of Grubb's 8-year-old daughter.

Neil McLeod, 38, of Ephrata, pleaded guilty in Grant County Superior Court to vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault. Sept. 14 date has been set for the prosecution and defense to present arguments for sentencing.

The collision that claimed the life of Audrey Grubb occurred July 20, 2016 after the Ephrata Police Department responded to a vehicle theft report on Nob Hill Drive. Police were advised McLeod was a possible suspect and when EPD officers arrived he reportedly drove by in a Dodge Durango.

McLeod, who had been involved with other calls for service in Ephrata and Grant County earlier that day, started heading south on D Street Northeast. EPD officers followed McLeod and he allegedly failed to stop at the Division Avenue East stop sign and collided with Grubb’s truck. The Durango rolled and came to a rest against a power pole, while Grubb’s truck crashed into a garage.

Audrey Grubb was riding in the bed of the truck and was thrown out of the back of the vehicle when it was hit. The girl struck her head and was pronounced dead at Columbia Basin Hospital in Ephrata shortly after she arrived. Justin Grubb received internal injuries and a concussion. The female passenger in the truck had to be extricated and received treatment for two broken legs, a broken pelvis and a lacerated spleen. McLeod’s two female passengers received non-life-threatening injuries.

Police noticed McLeod was exhibiting signs of impairment when he was contacted after the crash and he went on to admit to using methamphetamine earlier in the day. Grant County Sheriff’s Office investigators examined the scene and determined McLeod was driving “well above” the speed limit when he collided with Grubb’s truck. A 90-foot-long skid mark found at the scene is believed to have been caused by the tires on the Durango. Investigators believe McLeod attempted to use his brakes, which caused the tires on the vehicle to lock.

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