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South Jordan Police

West Jordan councilman admits to leaving crash after drinking at bar

By Nicole Vowell  |  Posted Jul 27th, 2016 @ 11:30pm


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WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan city councilman was only given a ticket on Tuesday even though police admit they should have arrested him on a more serious charge.

KSL TV obtained exclusive footage from the bizarre incident that did not result in any arrests. South Jordan police responded to the call that involved West Jordan City Councilman Jeff Haaga on Tuesday night.

“We got a report that (Haaga) was involved in a hit and run,” said Lt. Matt Pennington with the South Jordan Police Department. “He wasn’t on scene, he had returned home and so our officers responded over there.”

Body camera footage shows officers questioning Haaga at his house for over an hour and without being prompted, Haaga said, “I did hit a car, I think I did.”

He admitted to causing damage to his car and also told the officers he had been drinking at a nearby bar.

“He appeared to be intoxicated. (Officers) could smell alcohol,” Pennington said. “There were other factors, him talking in circles, other indicators of intoxication.”

From start to finish, Haaga’s confrontation with police was confusing. Haaga first told officers someone from the bar took him home.

“(But) he eventually admits to driving his vehicle and coming home,” Pennington said.

The footage also shows officers giving Haaga just a ticket, although they threaten to arrest him for drunk driving.

“Will you listen to me for a second?” an officer can be heard asking Haaga during the confrontation. “All this is, is a citation for failing to remain at the scene of an accident. We were this close to arrest you for DUI, 'kay? We were this close, and realistically, I probably should.”

Haaga also told police he was “protected” because of his position with West Jordan city. Police said they were not able to arrest Haaga because they didn't find him operating his car.

Contributing: Tracie Snowder

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