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WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who was driving home from a party and allegedly slammed into the back of a Utah Highway Patrol vehicle has been criminally charged.
The 21-year-old Herriman man was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with driving under the influence, a third-degree felony; two counts of DUI, a class A misdemeanor; and failing to stay in his travel lane, an infraction. Troopers say the man was found to have both alcohol and THC in his system, which accounted for the multiple DUI charges. According to charging documents, his blood-alcohol content was 0.05%.
UHP Sgt. Andrew Pollard had pulled over to the shoulder of I-215 near 2800 South to investigate an abandoned vehicle on Aug. 1. Pollard had just gotten back into his marked patrol SUV when he was hit, charging documents state.
The impact sent Pollard's vehicle into the unoccupied car he had just checked, which caused his SUV to spin off into traffic, according to the charges. The driver that hit the trooper continued moving and pushed the unoccupied car another 70 feet before coming to a stop, the charges state.
Pollard got out of his patrol car and immediately jumped over the freeway barricade to get out of traffic and avoid further injury. He was taken to a local hospital where he had surgery on his eye.
"Sgt. Pollard had numerous pieces of glass in his right eye along with a corneal abrasion, a lacerated eyelid, whiplash in his neck and back, internal bleeding in his groin and facial lacerations," the charges state. "Sgt. Pollard later reported consistent back, knee and eye pain along with loss of vision in his right eye."
The driver of the other vehicle was flown by medical helicopter to a local hospital with severe head trauma, the charges state. Two passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries, including broken ribs, according to the charges.
Investigators found two empty beer cans and rolling papers in the car, the charges state. One passenger told troopers that the three had been at a party prior to the crash.
Following the crash, UHP administrators held a press conference reminding drivers to move over when they see a trooper pulled off on the shoulder, and give them room to do their jobs safely.