Driver arrested on suspicion of DUI after allegedly driving wrong way on I-15 during snowstorm

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Police arrested a Cedar City man on suspicion of DUI early Tuesday after he was stopped while driving the wrong way on Interstate 15 during a snowstorm.

Shane Daniel Coles, 52, was initially taken to Beaver County Jail and then transported to Iron County Jail following the incident, which reportedly occurred shortly after midnight Tuesday.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of Coles’ arrest, a snowplow driver and at least one other motorist reported seeing a vehicle driving south in the northbound lanes of I-15 near mile marker 100. The driver of the vehicle was seen swerving recklessly from shoulder to shoulder, spinning in circles and nearly forcing other vehicles off the roadway, the investigating Utah Highway Patrol trooper wrote in the statement.

According to the statement, it was snowing heavily in the area at the time and the roads were icy and covered in snow.

The investigating trooper added that when he arrived on scene near mile marker 99, he also witnessed the suspect vehicle driving erratically. 

“I observed the vehicle swerve toward an oncoming semi truck and trailer,” he wrote, adding that the semi driver had to swerve to avoid colliding with the suspect vehicle and almost jackknifed the semi’s trailer.

Iron County Jail booking photo of Shane Daniel Coles, 52, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 29, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

Shortly thereafter, the trooper managed to get the driver to stop by pulling in front of the car with his patrol vehicle.

UHP Lt. Randy Riches told Cedar City News that even as the investigating trooper was exiting his patrol vehicle to approach the suspect’s car, identified as a 2001 Volkswagen Cabrio, its driver was reportedly revving the engine and trying to shift back into gear. 

Nevertheless, the trooper was able to safely get the man out of the car, Riches added.

“After having him exit the vehicle, the trooper could smell a very overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from him as he spoke to him,” Riches said. “Upon further investigation, it was determined the driver was extremely impaired.”

Coles is currently in custody at Iron County Jail. He faces one count each of aggravated assault and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, both third-degree felonies, along with multiple misdemeanor charges, including reckless driving, driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving in violation of alcohol restrictions and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

Utah court records show Coles’ criminal history includes at least two DUI convictions, along with multiple traffic violations and other offenses. He reportedly had three outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest Tuesday, the affidavit said.

This report is based on 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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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