Utah officer on way to training arrested for DUI

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An agent with the state Bureau of Investigation is facing four criminal charges after being stopped April 24 in Garfield County for suspicion of driving under the influence as he was on his way to training exercises at Lake Powell.

Jason James Whitehead, 35 of Ogden, was arrested by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office on U.S. Highway 89 after several people reported a reckless driver.

“He was on his way to dive team training when he was stopped,” UHP Trooper Jared Cornia said.

Jason James Whitehead, 35 of Ogden, Utah, April 24, 2017 | Booking photo courtesy of Fox 13 Salt Lake City, St. George News

Court records indicate Whitehead was charged in Garfield County Justice Court April 26 with one count of DUI and two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, all class B misdemeanors. He was also charged with one class C misdemeanor for an open container in a vehicle.

Cornia said several calls made to 911 by fellow motorists reporting a reckless driver were received April 24, “and at that point a UHP trooper responded and after locating the vehicle pulled him over.”

Once the trooper realized Whitehead was a State Bureau of Investigation employee he called dispatch to request assistance from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

“Otherwise there could be a conflict of interest, so they took over the incident and the investigation,” Cornia said.

The Utah Department of Public Safety is involved in the administrative aspect of the incident, but has no involvement in the criminal investigation, he added.

Keith Squires, Utah’s Commissioner of Public Safety, made the following statement Wednesday about Whitehead’s arrest.

“I’m very disappointed when it’s found that one of our own, who has committed to protect, made a bad choice that could harm others. We were fortunate in this incident that no one was hurt and we have taken immediate action to address this incident,” Squires said.

“This is a very rare occurrence that does not represent the conduct of the nearly 1,600 men and women of the Utah Department of Public Safety who have dedicated their careers to providing caring and professional service.”

Whitehead’s bail was set in the amount of $1,420. He was released from jail on bond April 27.  A pretrial conference is scheduled for May 17 at the Garfield County Justice Court.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • Caveat_Emptor May 4, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Frankly, it is good to hear that this guy was handled objectively by his fellow law enforcement officers.
    His reckless driving, presumably in his own vehicle, drew enough attention to warrant this documentation of the incident.
    Thanks are due to those citizens who called 911.

  • Proud Rebel May 4, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Kind of a career ending move! At least it should be…

  • paul May 4, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Got off pretty cheap on bail hmmmmmm prob get a weekend off for his crime. And back to work moday

  • Rob83 May 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    We’re all human, every one makes mistakes.

  • ladybugavenger May 5, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I kinda feel bad for him (only because no one else was injured) that he made this choice. Why? Why did he drink and drive that day? Does he drink and drive everyday? Did he believe he is above the law? Did he have the mindset, I’m a cop they can’t catch me? Or was he just an idiot for a day?

    Its encouraging to know that the proper thing was done and he was arrested. His sentence or plea deal is another story….

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