Blogger Holly Richardson must have borrowed the Urim and Thummin from Temple Square before making her prediction; she forecast that Senator Sheldon Killpack would resign from the Utah State Senate altogether as a result of his DUI arrest on January 15th, 2010. In this post, she wrote ..."if I were a betting woman, I would bet that he will step down all together so that he can focus on getting the help he needs".
And I'll be damned if he hasn't gone and done exactly that. On January 16th, Sheldon Killpack announced his intention to resign from the Utah State Senate altogether. In a statement issued to the public, Killpack wrote the following:
"I spent the evening considering my options and discussing them with my wife, family and trusted friends. My heart weighs heavy. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the legislative process, my legislative colleagues and for my constituents. At this time the Legislature would be a distraction from what is most important and, frankly, I find that I have become a distraction to the Legislature. In light of that, I have decided to tender my resignation as majority leader and as a Utah state senator, effective immediately.
I am sincerely grateful and touched for the outpouring of support and love expressed to my family by so many of my constituents and friends. Thank you."
Additional media stories provided by the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune. One lawmaker has already reacted to the announcement. Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R-Bountiful), who is close with Killpack, said he feels a deep sadness over his colleague's departure. "He's tremendously talented and one of my earliest supporters and best friends," Liljenquist said. "I respect the decision and I respect his desire to take responsibility for his actions, and his priorities are where they should be -- with his family. Honestly, I think it's a commendable thing."
Many people expected that Killpack would have eventually resigned his post as Majority Leader; the issue was expected to surface during an upcoming meeting of the Senate GOP Caucus. But virtually no one expected Killpack to bag it altogether. The Ogden Standard-Examiner tracked down many of his colleagues from what's called the "Top of Utah" (that portion north of Salt Lake County), and all were sympathetic towards Killpack's situation and willing to allow justice to proceed before passing judgment. None were demanding his resignation from the body.
Davis County Republican Party Chairwoman Shirley Bouwhuis said Killpack called her Saturday morning to notify her of his decision. The party still has to work out details of the special election to replace him, but is under pressure because the 2010 Legislature convenes January 25th.
The Deseret News story also provides more information about the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Killpack and the passenger accompanying him in his vehicle, former Rep. Mark Walker (R-Sandy), had attended a fundraiser for Rep. Greg Hughes (R-Draper) at a Murray karate studio that ended around 9 p.m. Alcohol was not served at the event. Killpack was pulled over by a Utah Highway Patrol DUI squad trooper in Millcreek shortly after midnight with Walker in the car. The vehicle was stopped at 700 E. 3300 South after the trooper noticed "a poor driving pattern." The trooper cited "the odor of alcohol coming from the subject's breath" according to the probable cause statement filed. Killpack allegedly refused to take a breath test and the trooper obtained a warrant to take blood for testing. Killpack was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of DUI, a class B misdemeanor, and unsafe turn/lane change, a class C misdemeanor, then released.
In the final analysis, considering that Killpack is a member of the LDS Church in a state that's majority LDS, his decision to resign altogether may well be in his best interests as well as the interests of his district. The inevitable feeding frenzy would have arisen. But his resignation should not be taken as an admission of guilt; Killpack still has not said whether or not he was drinking that night. But his subsequent statements about "taking full responsibility for his actions" does imply acknowledgement that he got his hand caught in the cookie jar, so to speak.