A Utah Highway Patrol trooper was honored as trooper of the year in 2007 based upon her DUI arrest record. That record has recently been called into question. It turns out that the trooper may have unjustifiably arrested numerous drivers for DUI without any credible proof they were impaired.
The trooper made nearly 750 DUI arrests in her five-year career. The department fired her from her position this past January when information surfaced suggesting that she arrested drivers she should not have arrested. In one case, the driver insisted she had not been drinking, but the trooper arrested her in any event. Blood analysis later proved the woman was telling the truth, and the charges were dropped.
A local media outlet recently released a video of the Utah trooper administering a field sobriety test, which reports say did not indicate the driver was impaired. She arrested the man for DUI anyway. A review of video of the trooper’s stops allegedly reveals that DUI arrests were made either off camera or only partially in the camera’s line of sight. In addition, an internal letter has surfaced from a sergeant expressing concerns to his superior about the trooper’s DUI arrests after he reviewed them.
If the allegations against the trooper are true, every DUI arrest she made may come into question. Many people wonder why our system of justice insists that those accused of crimes are innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. Actions by law enforcement officials such as those contained in the allegations against this trooper are part of the reason. No one should ever have to suffer any criminal consequence without proof beyond a reasonable doubt he or she actually committed the crime for which charges were filed.
Name of Utah DUI suspect makes his arrest national news
Ordinarily, an arrest for driving under the influence in Utah would not make national headlines. However, when a man named Christopher Reeves was arrested for DUI while wearing a Superman t-shirt, news outlets could not help but report the incident. A sheriff’s department spokesperson even pointed out that his name is close to that of Christopher Reeve — the man who infamously played the role of Superman beginning in 1978. Unfortunately, the apparent irony of the man’s name and his choice of attire have diminished the fact that the man is facing serious charges.
The suspected drunk driver was traveling on Interstate 15 in the early morning hours of March 25. A Davis County deputy initiated a traffic stop at about 3 a.m. after claiming to see the vehicle traveling at more than 80 mph and weaving. The deputy administered field sobriety tests that he maintains the driver failed.
Something prompted the deputy to call for a drug-sniffing dog, who supposedly found drug paraphernalia and drugs belonging to the driver. According to authorities, officers found a baseball-sized amount of methamphetamine and a synthetic form of marijuana. As a result of the traffic stop, Reeves was charged with several crimes and traffic offenses.
The charges include DUI, possession charges and speeding among others. The fact that this may not be his first contact with law enforcement could further complicate things. The notoriety surrounding this man’s name needs to be overcome in order for him to have the opportunity at the best outcome possible with regard to the charges. As in most similar cases, the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and everything that followed afterward likely needs to be reviewed to ensure proper procedures were followed and Reeves rights were safeguarded throughout the process. Any misstep by Utah authorities in their contact with an accused individual could result in either a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
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