Utah officer arrested for DUI, open container on way to training in Garfield County

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah - An agent with the State Bureau of Investigation has been arrested for driving under the influence on the way to a training exercise at Lake Powell.

Officials said 35-year-old Jason James Whitehead is facing charges for open container, carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence.

Whitehead was arrested April 24 as he was driving a state vehicle to a training exercise. The arrest came after several people called to report a reckless driver near Panguitch.

It was only after Highway Patrol responded and stopped the vehicle that they realized the driver was one of their own. UHP called Garfield County personnel to investigate in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Court documents indicate Whitehead blew above a .08, the current legal limit, on a breathalyzer and had an open container in his vehicle. He was travelling to Lake Powell for a dive training.

Whitehead began working as a trooper approximately 4.5 years ago. Most recently he was working in the major crime unit, which deals with "the worst of the worst" cases, according to UHP.

"It's a hard job and I admit that, but there's no excuse for DUI... there's no excuse for driving impaired, and in case there is no excuse for it," said Sgt. Todd Royce of the Utah Department of Public Safety. "If an officer is out there and they could be driving impaired, it not only affects a criminal standpoint, but it affects employment standpoint."

Commissioner Keith D. Squires of the Utah Department of Public Safety released a statement regarding the arrest.

"I'm very disappointed when it's found that one of our own, who has committed to protect, made a bad choice that could harm others. We were fortunate in this incident that no one was hurt and we have taken immediate action to address this incident. This is a very rare occurrence that does not represent the conduct of the nearly 1,600 men and women of the Utah Department of Public Safety who have dedicated their careers to providing caring and professional service."

Whitehead was booked into the Garfield County Jail for DUI and an open container and for two charges of carrying a dangerous weapon while drunk. It is not clear if those weapons were part of his work equipment or not.