UTAH — Utah Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force for the holiday weekend in an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road.
The Fourth of July weekend is the deadliest weekend of the year for Utah drivers, the agency states, and troopers have already begun increasing night shifts to crack down on impaired drivers.
“It’s not just alcohol: There’s a lot of impairing medications and other substances out there that could alter your mind and make it so you’re not safe,” said Sgt. Jacob Cox of the Utah Highway Patrol.
UHP states they saw an average of five alcohol-related crashes per day during the Fourth of July weekend in 2017. They encourage anyone who is impaired to get a sober friend to drive or arrange pick up from a taxi or ride-share service.
The Supreme Court filed three major decision on the final day before recessing with far-reaching ramifications for political representation and policing — and Utahns will feel the effects.
In Mitchell v. Wisconsin the court decided that police have a right to draw blood from an unconscious DUI suspect under that state’s implied consent law. Utah also has such a law that states drivers automatically accept the right of police to take a breath and/or blood test.
In Rucho v. Common Cause, justices decided partisan gerrymandering was not under the purview of the federal courts. Partisan Gerrymandering means maps for elected office are drawn to favor one party over another. In a series of rulings, lower courts had struck down such maps, saying they interfered with an individual’s right to equal representation.
In Rucho, the court said it does not approve of partisan gerrymandering, but the issue is left to the states to decide. In Utah, voters decided in November of 2018 to create a non-partisan commission to advise the state legislature on drawing districts.
Two leaders of that movement told FOX 13 the Supreme Court decision has no effect on Utah’s efforts, which are state-based.
“This should be a state’s issue,” said Better Boundaries co-founder Blake Moore, a Republican standing beside co-founder Ralph Becker, a Democrat.
The decision does mean that if the state legislature changes the law passed by voters, the federal courts are not a backstop against political gerrymanders.
In Commerce v. New York, the court sent a mixed message with a scathing critique of President Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
New York challenged the decision by the Department of Commerce to ask about a respondent’s citizenship on Census forms. The ten-year constitutionally mandated count has not asked such a question since the 1950s. The court said the question might be legal, but the Commerce Department was not being straight about the reason for adding it.
Immigrant rights groups feared such a question would discourage undocumented residents from filling out the forms, which would lead them to not be counted and deny federal resources to the areas where they live.
“We believe this question was specifically added … to exclude immigrant communities from being counted,” said Luis Garza, Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas in Utah.
Chief Justice John Roberts was skeptical of Ross’ explanation that the question was added to help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act.
“The evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his action,” Roberts wrote in the decision. Evidence presented to the court showed political operatives had argued for such a question for years in order to make the count more favorable to conservatives.
PARK CITY, Utah — A bus driver was booked into jail on suspicion of DUI after crashing into a ditch in Park City Saturday.
According to a statement of probable cause, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a crash involving a transit bus shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday and arrived to find the driver, Jason Parker, outside the vehicle–which was in a ditch.
A booking photo for Jason Parker
Parker told the responding deputy he had fallen asleep while driving. There was one passenger on the bus at the time of the crash, and no injuries were reported.
The man was cited for failure to maintain his lane, but Park City corporation later administered a breathalyzer test that resulted in a .074—which is above Utah’s legal limit of .05.
Parker subsequently told a deputy he had been drinking the night before the crash, and the deputy said a faint odor of alcohol was detectable on the man’s breath as they were speaking. The man submitted to a blood draw, the results of which are not yet available.
Parker was booked into jail and faces one count of driving under the influence and a charge for failure to maintain a lane.
SALT LAKE CITY — A sideline reporter for Real Salt Lake was arrested for suspicion of DUI.
Samantha Kate Yarock, 35, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and for following too close and unsafe lane travel.
A statement of Probable Cause indicates Yarock was pulled over shortly after 10 p.m. on May 14 after a trooper observed her speeding, following too closely, and weaving in and out of traffic.
The document states Yarock pulled over but left her vehicle partially in the travel lane, and a trooper had to instruct her to pull completely over to the shoulder.
The trooper states Yarock showed signs of impairment during field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested.
Real Salt Lake issued this statement:
“We are aware of the arrest but to our knowledge no charges have been filed and we are allowing the judicial process to take its due course. We are monitoring the situation very closely. We have no further comment at this time.”
DAGGETT COUNTY, Utah — A man has been charged with homicide and DUI after a passenger fell from a boat and drowned at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
According to documents filed Monday, Corey Eggleston is charged with automobile homicide as a third-degree felony and DUI as a class B misdemeanor.
The charges stem from a deadly incident at Flaming Gorge Reservoir May 11. Booking documents indicate Eggleston was driving a boat and made a sharp turn, sending all three occupants into the water.
None of the three were wearing life jackets, and one man drowned.
Eggleston and the other occupant were treated by medical responders and cleared.
Deputies said Eggleston smelled like alcohol when they interviewed him and said he admitted to them he had been drinking on the boat.
Eggleston was booked into the Uintah County Jail, as Daggett County no longer operates a jail.
MAPLETON, Utah – A mock crash in Mapleton Wednesday hit close to home because it replicated a real crash that happened almost two years ago, involving a senior at Maple Mountain High School, a day before her graduation.
“Be safe. Please be safe. Don’t drive impaired,” said the victim’s father, Devin Shaw.
It’s a heartfelt plea from a heartbroken father.
“She loved people. She’s an amazing kid. Couldn’t have asked for a better daughter,” Shaw said.
Kathrynn Shaw died in a car accident two years ago on May 22. Police say a 17-year-old boy who was under the influence hit the car Shaw was riding in, killing her almost instantly.
That crash was re-enacted today for students at Maple Mountain High School.
The young woman pretending to be Shaw, Gabi Smith, knew her well. They were on the drill team together.
“When you were around her, she just glowed and like I miss her so much and everybody else does but you can feel she`s here today,” Smith said.
No details were spared as first responders arrived on scene, desperately trying to save these young lives. There was even a funeral.
A painfully realistic exercise designed to teach an important lesson to these impressionable teens.
“It’s so important to drive safe and not drink and buckle your seatbelt because it can mean the difference between life and death,” said Smith.
A lesson Devin Shaw had to learn the hard way.
“It’s going to be a hard day but again if we can save just one person, one person`s life, one family from going through the loss and pain that we have its worth it,” Shaw said.
In the two-car crash two years ago, each vehicle had three teenagers inside, but the other five had their seatbelts on and only suffered minor injuries. Shaw was not wearing hers and was thrown from the car.
MEXICAN HAT, Utah – An off-duty police officer was arrested on suspicion of DUI near Mexican Hat Sunday night.
According to the Navajo Police Department, several people called to report an impaired driver on US 163 around 8:40 p.m. that night.
Callers reported the driver parked in the middle of the road, then drove to a gas station and ultimately crashed into a ditch. Witnesses said the driver was visibly intoxicated, did not cooperate, and tried to leave the scene.
The off-duty officer was the lone occupant of the vehicle.
The agency states Navajo Nation privacy laws prevent them from releasing the name of the officer.
“The Navajo Police Department will take the necessary steps to hold our officers accountable for any misconduct that occurs while employed with this department,” Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco stated.