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HELPER, Carbon County — The DUI case is still pending against him, but that hasn't stopped at least one constituent from publicly demanding the resignation of Helper Mayor Dean Armstrong.
Angel Dalpaiz made her demand Thursday during a packed Helper City Council meeting that included heated exchanges between opponents and supporters of the mayor.
"In your capacity to be mayor, you are supposed to uphold the laws of this city," said Dalpaiz, whose husband served as Helper's mayor for several terms in the past.
"I applaud the trooper who had the courage to arrest you," she said.
A Utah Highway Patrol trooper pulled Armstrong over on Nov. 16 after he said the mayor rolled through a stop sign on Main Street in Price. The trooper said he smelled alcohol coming from Armstrong's breath and the mayor replied that he'd had a few Bloody Marys to drink, according to the UHP arrest report.
I applaud the trooper who had the courage to arrest you.
Armstrong, 45, told the trooper, "I am not going to be able to walk the test," when he was being instructed on aspects of a field sobriety test, the report states.
"I'm going to stand down. Take me in," he said, according to the report.
The trooper found an open bottle of vodka in the vehicle, which he poured out onto the road.
Armstrong was later charged in Carbon County Justice Court with DUI, a class B misdemeanor, open container, a class C misdemeanor, and failure to obey a traffic control device, a class C misdemeanor.
State court records show Armstrong was convicted in July 1991 of DUI, a class B misdemeanor, in Salt Lake City Justice Court. A charge of negligent collision was dismissed.
"Your choice to drink is none of my business," Dalpaiz said at Thursday night's meeting. "But when you chose to drive the roads of Helper, Price, anywhere else, you put every person in this town in peril."
Dalpaiz also claimed Armstrong has attended several city meetings and functions while intoxicated.
She then called on the mayor to resign, saying it would "give you a chance to put your personal matters in order and give Helper a chance to clean up its image in this state."
Her demand was met with loud applause from half of the room. The other half applauded just as loudly when the mayor responded.
"I decline to resign," he said.
If (council members) did not feel they could work with me in a productive fashion, I would step aside and let someone else do that.
–Mayor Dean Armstrong
After the meeting, Armstrong called his arrest a "bump in the road."
"I wish that it wasn't there, but it's there," he said.
"I've spoken with my council members — publicly and privately — I've had unanimous support from all of them," the mayor added. "If they did not feel they could work with me in a productive fashion, I would step aside and let someone else do that."
As for Dalpaiz's claims that he's been intoxicated at city meetings?
"I think that if all those things were true, the five guys sitting next to me at the head table here probably would have thrown me out a long time ago," Armstrong said. "Small-town politics can be pretty rough and tumble."
A date for Armstrong's next court appearance has not been set. He has entered pleas of not guilty to all charges.