Utah officer drives impaired on the way to police training


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PANGUITCH , Utah (KSL) — A Utah Department of Public Safety officer has pleaded guilty to driving impaired in an unmarked patrol car while headed to police dive-team training at Lake Powell.

Jason James Whitehead, 35, of Ogden, pleaded guilty to impaired driving, a class B misdemeanor, Thursday in Garfield County Justice Court.

Whitehead was pulled over April 24 in his Dodge Charger on U.S. 89 after troopers say multiple people had called police reporting a reckless driver through Iron and Garfield counties.

The UHP trooper noticed a “strong odor of alcohol” and a half-empty, open vodka bottle in the vehicle, according to a warrant.

The Garfield County sheriff investigated after the trooper realized Whitehead was a State Bureau of Investigation employee.

His status at that job and the DPS one is unclear; he was on administrative leave in May.

Sheriff James Perkins noted he had slurred speech and red, glassy eyes, a warrant states. Whitehead failed field sobriety tests and needed help getting into Perkins’ car, according to court documents.

Whitehead spent four years at the Department of Public Safety, most recently in the Major Crimes Unit, and had no other major discipline, UHP spokesman Todd Royce has said.

In exchange for his plea, two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence, a class B misdemeanor, and having an open container in his vehicle while on the highway, a class C misdemeanor.

Whitehead previously was a Tooele County sheriff’s deputy and then became a UHP tropper. In 2013 he sustained minor injuries after another vehicle hit his while he was inside.

No sentencing date is listed in the court docket.

This story was originally published by KSL.com. It is used here with permission.