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Driver pleads guilty in high-speed crash case

The man accused of causing a horrific crash in Murphy while fleeing from police in November has pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him.

Jeremy Douglas McGhee, 30, of Grants Pass, pleaded guilty to charges including second-degree assault, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and 10 months in prison under voter-approved sentencing standards. His sentencing date has been set for Jan. 29.

The case stemmed from a crash the night of Nov. 5 that severely injured another motorist who had just gotten off of work.

McGhee was driving on Williams Highway at an estimated 90 mph, thinking he was fleeing from a Grants Pass police officer, when the stolen SUV he was driving went out of control and careened into Juan Granados-Gonzales' car as he was pulling out of the Murphy 76 gas station. Police, however, had already called off the chase.

Granados-Gonzales, a 27-year-old father of four who had just gotten off of work at the nearby Si Casa Xpress, was critically injured in the crash, which was so violent that it ripped the engine from his car. McGhee escaped serious injury and fled on foot, eluding capture for nearly two weeks.

Granados-Gonzalez, who suffered serious head injuries, has since been making slow steps toward recovery, recently starting to walk again a little bit. In an interview in late December, his father said he was able to converse with family members but that he has a long road to recovery and suffered some brain damage in the crash.

The community came together in the wake of the accident, holding various fundraisers for Granados-Gonzales, including a spaghetti feed at Hidden Valley High School that raised more than $7,600.

In a letter to the Granados-Gonzalez family, a copy of which McGhee mailed to the Daily Courier from jail, the defendant said he wished he could change places with Granados-Gonzales and that his actions shattered Granados-Gonzales' family as well as his own.

McGhee also pleaded guilty to two counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle, two counts of attempting to elude an officer and two counts of methamphetamine possession, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm, criminal mischief, failure to perform the duties of a driver and reckless driving.

Deputy District Attorney Matt Corey said McGhee has agreed to a sentence of 105 months in prison, or nearly nine years, which Corey said is significantly less time than he could have faced if convicted at trial.