Saratoga Springs Bus Driver Arrested For Possible DUI

A bus driver transporting special needs children in Saratoga Springs Utah was arrested last week for a possible DUI.

DUI or unsure footing?

DUI

Photo by: ThoseGuys119

52 year old Sherry Lund was transporting a small group of special needs kids from an Alpine School District elementary when a parent noticed her stumble getting a child off the bus. Allegedly, Lund did not recover immediately from her fall and stayed on the ground while the parent called police. By the time officers arrived, Lund had reentered the bus and left.

No breathalyzer test reported

When officers located Lund, they detected the smell of alcohol. No information has been given regarding whether or not she was given a breathalyzer, however Lund supposedly failed a field sobriety test. Lund, who has served as a bus driver for two decades, was placed on administrative leave and arrested for a possible DUI.

Field sobriety test

Field Sobriety Test

Photo by: Jeffrey Smith

More information may come to light during the investigation of Lund’s supposed DUI; however as of now her arrest is said to be based off of the alcohol smell and a failed field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests such as walking a straight line or saying the ABC’s backwards have been under scrutiny lately with experts stating that the tests may produce a false DUI. This can be due to an innocent mistake either by the arresting officer or the individual suspected of a DUI.

Wait for a legitimate test

Photo by: KOMOnews

Photo by: KOMOnews

When a DUI is suspected, waiting for a legitimate test such as a breathalyzer or a blood or urine test is encouraged. No one is legally required to participate in a field sobriety test and with their high fail rate, they are more than likely a waste of time. If a test of breath, blood, or urine does confirm an alcohol limit over what is legally allowed, a criminal defense attorney is recommended.

Automobile Homicide

A 14 year old Taylorsville teenager was struck and killed by a car on Halloween night and it is not believed that the driver will face charges of automobile homicide.

Trick or treating nightmare

Photo by: _zhang

Photo by: _zhang

The 14 year old teenage girl was out trick or treating with a group of friends when she entered a crosswalk located on 2700 West just north of Bennion Junior High School in Taylorsville, Utah. As she began crossing the road, a van driven by an adult woman struck and killed her.

Accident versus being negligent

It is improbable that drivers who cause the death of a pedestrian for reasons such as poor visibility due to a dark costume (which may have been the case here) will face charges of automobile homicide. According to Utah Code 76-5-207 and 76-5-207.5, there are two circumstances in which a driver may be charged with automobile homicide following a fatal auto-pedestrian accident, such as:

• If the driver is distracted by a cell phone or other hand-held device or

• If the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

While an investigation is still pending, it doesn’t appear that the driver was impaired in any way and thus she will likely be spared automobile homicide charges for the death of the 14 year old girl.

Criminally negligent

Photo by: Lord Jim

Photo by: Lord Jim

If a driver is found to have been driving while intoxicated or on their phone when an accident occurs, they could face a 3rd degree felony for automobile homicide. That charge would increase to a 2nd degree felony if the driver is perceived as being criminally negligent. Utah Code 76-2-102 defines being criminally negligent as deliberately causing the accident, “recklessly with respect to circumstances […]”, or if the driver should have known that their actions could cause the accident to occur. If a driver is ever facing automobile homicide, it is vital to seek experienced, professional counsel to avoid up to 15 years in prison that can come from a 2nd degree felony.

DUI Automobile Homicide for Man Involved in High-Speed Pursuit

DUI automobile homicide after high-speed pursuit

Photo: Public Domain

A man arrested last May after a crash that killed the three other passengers in his vehicle pleaded guilty to DUI automobile homicide on Friday, March 27. One of the passengers was the driver’s girlfriend, and the others were juveniles.

Attempting to Flee Always a Bad Idea

Trying to flee from police officers always makes things worse. At the very least, it adds additional felony charges onto what might have been simple misdemeanors had the suspect chosen not to flee. However, for Jonathan Ulises Analco-Cruz, 24, attempting to flee led to a high-speed crash that landed him with multiple counts of DUI automobile homicide.

According to KSL News, on May 17, 2014, an officer attempted to pull over Cruz for doing 60 mph in a 35 mph zone at Salt Lake City International Airport. Cruz accelerated with erratic lane changes as he sped toward eastbound I-80, at which point court documents state that the officer ended the pursuit for public safety reasons.

However, near the I-215 interchange, Cruz apparently lost control of his vehicle and rolled it several times. A reconstruction of the incident indicated that Cruz was going 103 mph when he lost control. Cruz was found at the scene in critical condition. His girlfriend, Michaela Martin, 18, was killed on the crash, as were two male juveniles, ages 17 and 14.

Cruz’s blood-alcohol level was 0.21, almost three times the Utah legal limit of 0.08, and THC was found in his system. Court records indicate that an arrest warrant had been issued for Cruz just nine days earlier for failing to pay a fine and driving infractions.

Cruz pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI automobile homicide and failure to stop at an officer’s command, all second degree felonies.

When a DUI Misdemeanor Becomes a DUI Automobile Homicide Felony

As stated at the beginning of this post, attempting to flee is always a bad idea. Had Cruz consented to be pulled over, he would’ve most likely received a speeding ticket and a DUI charge, a class B misdemeanor provided he didn’t injure anyone or hadn’t been convicted before. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Instead, Cruz attempted to flee and killed three people in the process. Now he has three second degree felonies he is facing. A single second degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The most important thing to remember is not to take your changes attempting to flee from police if you are driving under the influence. However, if you or someone you know has already been charged with DUI automobile homicide charges, don’t leave the potential of losing fifteen years of your life in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.