Monday, March 3, 2008

Bad Cop, No Donut: Fred Swain, Former Head Of Utah Highway Patrol's DUI Enforcement Team, Pleads Guilty...To DUI


On March 3rd, 2008, the former commander of the Utah Highway Patrol's DUI enforcement team pleaded guilty - for the second time - to alcohol-related reckless driving for crashing his police cruiser in 2006. Full stories published in the Salt Lake Tribune and aired on KSL Channel 5. Original story from June 30th, 2006 posted by the Deseret Morning News.

Fred Swain's plea to the class B misdemeanor charge was entered in 3rd District Court. He was appealing a conviction in Draper City Justice Court where he pleaded guilty to an identical charge.

Swain, 42, received a sentence from 3rd District Judge Michele Christiansen identical to the sentence imposed last year by Draper Justice Court Judge Daniel Bertch: 12 months probation, a $782 fine, completion of a DUI education class and installation of a device on his car that prevents ignition if the driver has been drinking. Christiansen gave Swain multiple credits toward payment of his fine, including the cost of the ignition device and classes.

"This has been a life-altering experience for me," Swain said after Monday's hearing. "I found the good out of it, even though it's been embarrassing."

The sequence of events began on June 23rd, 2006 when Swain, then a lieutenant with UHP, crashed his cruiser into a concrete barrier on Bangerter Highway near 400 West at 2:20 a.m. When Draper police officers responded, Swain told them he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

However, the Draper cops detected alcohol on Swain's breath and observed him acting strangely - including repeatedly walking away to avoid contact with officers. Swain was also observed eating MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) from the trunk of his car in an attempt to reduce the effects of alcohol and to lower his blood-alcohol content.

About 90 minutes after the crash, Swain agreed to perform field sobriety tests. He passed the heel-to-toe walk-and-turn test and the "one-legged stand. But Swain failed a test that measures a suspect's ability to smoothly track movement with his eyes. In addition, a portable breath test detected alcohol on Swain's breath.

Later, after Swain's arrest, an intoxilyzer measured his blood-alcohol level at 0.11 percent, which exceeds Utah's legal limit of 0.08 percent. Oops! Subsequently, on June 30th, 2006, Swain resigned from the UHP.

Sometimes the hunter gets captured by the game.

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