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Man in vehicle that killed South Salt Lake officer to serve up to 30 years in prison

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Jeffrey Black, the passenger who was reportedly inside a vehicle when the driver ran over and killed South Salt Lake Officer David Romrell was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison on Tuesday. (Photo: Salt Lake County Jail)

The passenger who was reportedly inside a vehicle when the driver ran over and killed South Salt Lake Officer David Romrell was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Don Black will serve one to 15 years consecutively for each count of manslaughter and burglary, the sentence prosecutors requested.

On the night of Nov. 24, 2018, South Salt Lake officers were responding to a report of a possible burglary. They encountered Black and Felix Calata inside a vehicle.

At gunpoint, the officers instructed Black and Calata to exit the vehicle. Calata, however, drove the vehicle toward the officers instead.

Calata was shot and killed. Black was also shot, but survived his injuries.

He was arrested on a slew of charges, which were later amended and he plead guilty to manslaughter and burglary in February.

Black's attorney Heidi Buchi argued at Tuesday's hearing that Black had no way of knowing Calata was going to run over Romrell.

"He was a passenger when this occurred, it has had a huge and tremendous impact on his. He is remorseful, he is so very sorry," she said.

Black later spoke to the court and apologized to the Romrell family.

Romrell's widow, Liz, said, "The only person I want to talk to right now is David, and he is no longer here."

My world stopped. After that night, I have a blur of activity leading to the next 10 days up to your funeral. I was asked questions that no 32-year-old woman should be asked. What would you like to do with your husband's remains? Burial or cremation?

David Romrell was killed just three months after the birth of the couple's son.

"You would have taught him how be a great, strong, and fearless man," Liz Romrell said about her late husband.


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