On the Site:


Utah deputy in deadly collision with BYU student agrees to plea, could avoid jail

Jun 26, 2023, 5:11 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 4:23 pm

a badly damaged car...

BYU student Joseph Spenser was killed in a collision with a speeding, unmarked vehicle driven by a Utah County deputy. (Provo Police Department)

(Provo Police Department)

PROVO, Utah — A deputy who was first charged with felony manslaughter, pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge after he hit and killed 22-year-old BYU student Joseph Spenser in 2021.

He can avoid punishment in the fatal collision as the court will hold his plea in abeyance — meaning it will not sentence him for 18 months as he agrees to the court’s conditions.

BYU student Joseph Spenser was killed in a collision with a speeding, unmarked vehicle driven by a Utah County deputy. (Provo Police Department)

Joseph Richardson agreed to a negligent homicide plea and in turn the state will not request any fine or jail time with the charge if he doesn’t violate any laws for those 18 months, notifies the court of his current address, appears for all hearings and pays any court costs as ordered, according to court documents.

Richardson, off duty on March 17, 2021, was responding to a SWAT call, traveling 57.8 mph in a 35 mph zone in his Toyota Tacoma on 900 East in Provo without any lights or sirens on his vehicle. Spencer pulled out of a Taco Bell and Richardson’s Tacoma struck his car on the driver’s side door, killing him. Richardson applied his breaks before the collision.

The Summit County Attorney’s Office filed one charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony. That charge was reduced to a Class-A  misdemeanor negligent homicide that could still carry up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine if Richardson fails to meet the terms of his plea. After 18 months, if Richardson doesn’t violate the order, the court will enter its judgement, where it will reduce the charge to a Class-B misdemeanor or reckless driving with a guilty plea and no penalty.

Before Richardson was identified, he was placed on administrative leave.

Judge Robert C. Lunnen of the Fourth District Court of Provo, presided over the case.

The call for SWAT response was for a standoff that lasted six hours with a man court records shows has a history of mental illness.



KSL 5 TV Live

Stop For Students

(Courtesy of the Parr family)...

Shara Park

Family of Isabelle Parr celebrates her life on the anniversary of her death

A Holladay family is offering forgiveness to the driver of a hit and run accident that took the life of UVU student Isabelle Parr.

4 hours ago

11th and Harrison...

Katija Stjepovic

City begins safety improvements at 11th and Harrison

Salt Lake City has been working hard, trying to make intersections safer for our children and students.

8 days ago

Eli Mitchell sign...

Andrew Adams

West Jordan street renamed for 13-year-old killed by drunk driver

Family members converged on a street corner Friday as city workers installed new signs marking the renaming of a street in memory of a 13-year-old boy killed in a crosswalk by a drunk driver.

13 days ago

Sandy crosswalk...

Lindsay Aerts

Contested crosswalk returns to Sandy City

Some parents in Sandy were desperate for a crosswalk to be repainted on Sego Lily Drive after Sandy City repaved the road this summer.

13 days ago

(FILE) A student walking across the road. (KSL TV)...

Brittany Tait

Sandy City traffic engineers pave over a crosswalk used by Mount Jordan Middle School students

For months, parents who live around the location where the 300 East crosswalk used to be have called the mayor’s office, hoping the painted lines will return.

20 days ago

(FILE) A reflective vest on the ground after an accident involving a pedestrian and car. (KSL TV)...

Debbie Worthen

Utah’s first responders plead with drivers to pay attention

First responders are giving all Utahns an important message: Pay attention to the roads.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Utah deputy in deadly collision with BYU student agrees to plea, could avoid jail