Utah Police Chief Arrested for Prescription Drug DUI

A Utah police chief was arrested for prescription drug DUI after a highway patrol officer observed the chief driving recklessly north of the town of Manua.

Reckless driving

Photo by: BitterScripts

On a late January evening, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Kent Goodrich observed a Manua police vehicle driving at a high rate of speed down the median of Highway 89. Goodrich pulled the other police vehicle over and noted the driver, 49 year old Manua Police Chief Shane Zilles appeared to be inebriated. Zilles was cooperative, yet failed a field sobriety test and struggled answering simple questions being asked him as of him. Trooper Goodrich arrested Zilles as he was notably impaired and should not have been on the road putting other people and himself in danger.

Prescription Drug DUI

Zilles inability to pass the field test pointed to him likely being impaired by either alcohol or drugs. Although Zilles appeared to be intoxicated, there was no alcohol detected through a breathalyzer and a tox screen for street drugs came back negative as well. It was determined however that Zilles had not been drinking or using street drugs, yet he had consumed prescription drugs sometime prior to getting behind the wheel of the police cruiser. He was cited for prescription drug DUI and reckless driving.

Class B misdemeanor

Taking prescription drugs is not against the law if taken by the person to whom it is prescribed. It is unlawful however to drive after taking medication if it impairs the person’s ability to drive safely. Utah Code 41-6a-502 states “A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person:

• . . . is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle”.

Section 41-6a-504 warns that “The fact that a person charged with violating section 41-6a-502 is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense against any charge of violating [said section]. Even if the prescription if legal and valid, driving under the influence of prescription drugs that cause impairment is a class B misdemeanor as noted in section 41-6a-503. That DUI charge could be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor or third degree felony if there was bodily injury as a result of an accident or a minor passenger in the vehicle.

Medication side-effects

As a law enforcement officer, Zilles should have known better than to drive impaired. When alcohol or street drugs are involved, impairment is expected. Prescription drugs however could cause impairment that is unknown to the user. Regarding Zilles, there is some information that hasn’t been released yet:

• what type of prescription drugs he was taking; and
• Whether or not it was a new prescription or something he had experience taking and therefore would have known the side effects.

While there are some medications that are known to cause drowsiness and reduced ability to drive such as sleeping pills or narcotic pain meds, others can catch a person off guard by how much they affect their capability to drive safely. It is important to read the labels and all included paperwork with new medications to see if driving impairment is a possibility. If there is any doubt on whether or not impairment could be a factor when taking a prescription medication, drivers are urged to use caution and refrain from driving if possible. Anyone facing charges related to prescription drug DUI are encouraged to seek counsel from an experience attorney.

Reckless Driver with Dab Pen Leaves Scene of Accident while Fleeing Demons

A reckless driver in Utah was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and possession of a Dab pen after he rammed a school bus while reportedly fleeing demons.

Gotta get away

Photo by: Kevin Dooley

40 year old Brant Jay Diediker was arrested outside a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint temple in American Fork Utah, where he apparently went to save himself from Satan who he claimed was chasing him. Prior to his temple visit, Diediker was reported to have rammed a school bus full of children. Not only did he hit the bus with the truck he was driving, he repeated this action several times. Officers questioned why Diediker would ram the school bus, and although his actions were intentional, it didn’t’ appear to be done to harm the children. Instead, Diediker was just attempting to save himself from the dark lord.

High or unstable

From his actions, it may appear the Diediker was under the influence of some type of hallucinogen but in actuality, all that was found on him was a form of marijuana. Different from the plant that only produces a severe high if laced or smoke in large quantities, Diediker had been using was is known as Dab, a highly concentrated form of THC that is made from marijuana. Dab, which is also known as butane hash oil is extracted from dried marijuana leaves which are soaked in butane. The butane then evaporates and leaves a potent resin in its place. This resin typically has three to six times more THC than is typically found in marijuana. Diediker had an electronic cigarette with some of this potent resin in it, together known as a dab pen, which may or may not have led to his scary flight from the devil himself.

Criminal charges

Photo by: The Vape Guide

During the course of his flight from evil, Diediker committed 29 offenses, including:

• 20 counts of aggravated assault, third degree felony each. Diediker could have faced these numerous charges due to how many kids were on the bus at the time of the incident. Utah Code 76-5-103 states “Aggravated assault is an actor’s conduct: that is an attempt [threat, or act] . . . committed with unlawful force or violence that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and that includes the use of a dangerous weapon [like a motor vehicle]”.

Aggravated robbery of a vehicle, a first degree felony. A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery [taking personal property in the possession of another]: . . . takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.” While fleeing, Diediker took possession of another person’s vehicle that he then used to drive himself to the temple.

Leaving the scene of an accident. Although no one was reported to have been hurt, Diediker was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries of which the penalties would consist of a class A misdemeanor or third degree felony if the injuries were serious.

Possession and driving with marijuana in his system. Diediker had a dab pen and at some point within the last few weeks had used it since it was in his system which together could result in a third degree felony and a class B misdemeanor.

Face the consequences

A few things remain unclear about Diediker’s scary incident and arrest. He may have been suffering from some mental illness or episode or perhaps he was in fact under the influence of potent THC from the Dab pen. If it was the latter, his charges should have resulted in a DUI. It also isn’t known if Diediker was a regular user of Dab or whether he was used to smoking old school joints and was trying something new for a change. Any form of marijuana that has THC in it is currently illegal in Utah for recreational use, and any actions someone takes while high are their responsibility, regardless of whether or not they were aware of the intense side effects. If Diediker was suffering from a mental disorder and not a bad high, he may wish to seek help from a medical professional as he moves forward in his case. For more information on current marijuana laws in Utah, or for help regarding crimes committed while mentally unstable, contact a reputable criminal defense attorney.

Sharing Prescription Drugs in Utah

Many Utah residents have faced legal or other unpleasant ramifications due to them lovingly, yet illegally sharing prescription drugs with their friends or family.

Care, don’t share

Photo by: Ajay Suresh

When a family member or friend is suffering from an ailment, loved ones want to do whatever possible to help relieve the symptoms being suffered. Perhaps a spouse is in pain after a lengthy dentist visit. Maybe an elderly neighbor has thrown out their back working in the yard. Or possibly an adult child is facing the pain that comes from an unexpected kidney stone. Sometimes an ice pack or a simple over the counter remedy does the trick when other times something stronger is needed. Instead of sending the unwell person to their primary care physician to legally obtain a necessary prescription, many Utah residents will head for their own prescription medications to treat a loved one-not realizing they are about to commit a crime.

Sharing is distribution

When a family member or friend shares a prescription with others, they are ultimately distributing that prescribed medication to another. Even if the person receiving the medication does not offer any sort of payment, it is still against the law. Utah Code 58-37-2 states: “Distribute means to deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance [through a pharmacy]”. That section also notes: “Deliver” or delivery” means the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer of a controlled substance or a listed chemical, whether or not any agency relationship exists.”

Criminal charges

Many prescription drugs including those meant to reduce pain or induce sleep are considered controlled substances by state and federal law. The Controlled Substances Act separates street and prescription drugs into different schedules depending on what they are used for, their potential for abuse, and their risk for harm. When someone shares a prescription drug that is considered a controlled substance, especially those that are a Schedule I or II drug, they may face serious criminal penalties. According to Utah Code 58-37-8:

• Anyone convicted of distributing a Schedule I controlled substance or a Schedule II controlled substance such as Adderall, Ritalin, Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Norco “ . . . is guilty of a second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, and upon a second or subsequent conviction is guilty of a first degree felony.”

• Anyone convicted of sharing a Schedule III or IV controlled substances such as Suboxone, Tylenol with Codeine, Vicodin, Soma, Valium, Ativan, Xanax, “. . . or marijuana is guilty of a third degree felony, or [second degree felony upon a subsequent conviction].”

The recipients of someone else’s prescription drugs may themselves face criminal charges for possession.

Health risks

Beyond the criminal charges possible, family or friends could end up responsible for causing more misery to someone they care about. When prescription drugs are shared, the person to whom they are shared with may have adverse reactions to the medication that could have been avoided had they been under the care of a doctor. Additionally, if a prescription is shared that is a controlled substance, the recipient may develop a dependence to the medication that can completely derail their lives and send them down a path of addiction and pain far worse than they were originally facing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn, “In 2016, more than 11.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription opioids in the past year.” That figure only includes those who reported their misuse, and may not include those who are getting their meds from a family member. For more information on criminal charges related to sharing prescription drugs, contact a criminal defense attorney. For help regarding substance abuse including prescription drugs, contact the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to find a treatment center nearest you.