Police: Man charged with DUI after rollover in Hurricane leaves passenger with broken neck

Hurricane Fire and Rescue sends ambulance following a rollover on Old Highway 91 involving a utility task vehicle in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 30, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Hurricane Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man was charged Saturday night with DUI after the utility task vehicle he was driving rolled off an embankment near Old Highway 91 in Hurricane, which left one passenger seriously injured.

Utility task vehicle heading north on Old Highway 91 rolls off an embankment in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 30, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Hurricane Police Department, St. George News

On Saturday, officers were dispatched to a rollover reported on Old Highway 91 shortly after 10:30 p.m. involving a UTV carrying four occupants that rolled off the roadway. Initial reports also indicated there were injuries involved.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers arrived to find the front seat passenger with a large laceration to his head, and he was transported to St. George Regional Medical Center to be treated for his injuries. The two juveniles riding in the backseat both sustained minor injuries in the crash.

While speaking to officers, the driver, later identified as 51-year-old Robert Laurence Frei, said he was doing donuts in the UTV when the vehicle rolled, the report states. Frei reportedly said he was not sure if he was driving on the road or down the embankment where the UTV ended up.

Officers could tell from several markings visible across the roadway that the UTV was heading north along the highway when it left the roadway and started to roll.

According to the report, officers detected the strong odor of alcohol while speaking to the driver, who also reportedly had slurred speech and was swaying back and forth at the scene. A field sobriety test was administered at the scene that revealed the suspect “was too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle,” the officer noted.

Meanwhile, officers at the scene received word from the hospital the front-seat passenger who was transported earlier with the laceration also sustained a broken neck in the crash.

Hurricane Police Officer Dan Radditz told St. George News there were no further updates on the man’s condition that were noted in the incident report.

A breathalyzer test conducted at the scene revealed a blood alcohol content of .191, nearly four times the legal limit in Utah. The driver was transported to the hospital to be medically cleared. He was later booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing third-degree felony DUI with serious bodily injury, as well as reckless driving and two counts of DUI with a child in the vehicle, each a misdemeanor.

On Monday formal charges were filed in the case.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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