(SALT LAKE CITY) — A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a former Utah Highway Patrol trooper and her superiors alleging that she filed false DUI charges during her career.
The department fired Lisa Steed in November for alleged misconduct related to her duties.
Attorney Michael Studebaker, who is one of the lawyers leading the class-action lawsuit, says he has been contacted by at least 40 people claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them on DUI or drug charges.
“Culture of corruption. The stories are just rampant,” said Studebaker, who filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14 in District Court in Salt Lake County.
Lawyers have yet to determine exactly how much the plaintiffs will seek in monetary damages.
One of the alleged victims was Michael Choate, who says Steed pulled him over for speeding with his wife in the car.
“She said she clocked me at 73. I was going about 50, 52 at most,” Choate said.
Choate was arrested and charged with DUI, but the charge was reduced to having an open container of alcohol in the car after a blood test showed he was not drunk. Choate says he was forced to pay $3,000 in fines to get his car back.
Choate was also upset that his wife was forced to find her own way home after his arrest.
“They dropped her off at a Burger King,” he said. “She didn’t have any money, she didn’t have her cellphone with her. She had to borrow a quarter from a lady to make a phone call.”
Steed and her attorney have not responded to requests for comment. Utah Highway Patrol says it cannot comment on pending litigation.
Steed is under investigation by the FBI.
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