Former county sheriff’s officer pleads not guilty to DUI charges

A Washington County Sheriff's lieutenant was arrested on suspicion of DUI following a rollover off state Route 17, Washington County, Feb. 9, 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A former Washington County Sheriff’s lieutenant pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges related to a drunk driving incident.

Jason “Jake” Adams appeared in Fifth District Court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an alleged DUI accident that occurred in Toquerville in February. After hearing testimony from the Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Murphy, who responded to the accident, and reviewing evidence, Judge Michael Westfall order the case to go to a jury trial in September.

On Feb. 9, Adams and four of his children were involved in a vehicle rollover near mile post 1.5 of state Route 17 in Toquerville. The vehicle they were in, an unmarked truck belonging to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, reportedly drifted off the roadway and rolled down a dirt embankment, landing on its top. Medical personnel at the scene checked the truck’s occupants and determined them to be “OK,” according to court documents.

Murphy also responded to the scene and noted in a probable cause statement that Adams appeared to be “very unsteady on his feet” and also had a smell of alcohol on his breath. Adams subsequently failed a series of field sobriety tests, according to Murphy’s statement.

Adams was arrested and charged with a class-A misdemeanor for driving under the influence and a class-C for failure to operate a vehicle in a single lane.

Mike McGinnis, Adams’ attorney, said the defense plans to file a motion to suppress evidence in the following weeks related to Adams’ alleged blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident.

“There are issues with blood evidence,” McGinnis said, though declined to go into further detail. “Adams should be given the same presumption of innocence as anyone else,” he said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office placed Adams on administrative leave following the accident. He resigned from the sheriff’s office in March.

A jury trial for Adams’ case is set for Sept. 19. A pretrial status conference is scheduled Sept. 3.

Persons charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Ed. note: Updated at 2 p.m., May 28, 2014

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Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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    Mori, you forgot to mention that Adams blood/alcohol content was in excess of .08….that would be more that the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

    • Mori Kessler May 28, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out. Adams’ alleged blood-alcohol level was a part of the overall evidence presented to Judge Westfall for consideration. This hearing was to determine if there was enough evidence to move the case to trial, which Westfall ruled there was.

  • Tinker Toys May 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    No self responsibility. When he looses I hope he gets a severe punishment. He also ows the tax payers a new truck.

  • rick May 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    People are charged with child endangerment for a lot less, wonder if the Washington County Attorney shouldn’t recluse his office.

  • rick May 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm


  • pissed August 19, 2014 at 12:46 am

    He should get child endangerment. And failure to protect allong with a dui

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