A police officer in Utah shocked his superiors by being accused of drinking and driving. Witness statements indicate that a patrol car for the city police department traveled through a local park and hit a retaining wall. The city police officer to whom the patrol car was issued was charged with DUI as a result.
Based on witness statements, local police traced the vehicle back to the home of the officer. It sustained damage consistent with the events as described by people who came forward. Those same people believed that children were in the police cruiser at the time they saw it in the park.
Because it was the officer’s cruiser and he is suspected of drunk driving, the Utah Highway Patrol was brought in to conduct the investigation into the allegations made against the officer. Further, if a prosecution takes place, it will be in another jurisdiction in order to eliminate any appearance of favoritism or conflict of interest. The Utah Highway Patrol’s preliminary investigation claims that the officer was impaired on the night in question and failed to remain at the scene of an accident — namely the one that caused damage to his patrol car. Based on the conclusions of UHP investigators, he was taken into custody. He has since made bail and was released from the Washington County Jail.
In order to be convicted of the crimes with which he has been accused, it will be necessary for prosecutors to first prove it was the officer that was behind the wheel of the patrol car at the time of the accident. Until that fact is established to the satisfaction of the court, the DUI and other charge cannot be considered. The man’s criminal defense counsel will most likely review the witness statements and any other evidence the prosecution intends to present to the court in order to establish all of the options available to the officer.
Source: fox13now.com, “Cedar City police officer faces DUI charge, witnesses said children were in the car“, Zach Whitney, June 4, 2014