Woman injured by drunk driver calls for tougher restrictions on drivers suspected of multiple DUIs
Sep 3, 2023, 1:54 PM | Updated: 2:10 pm
WEBER COUNTY, Utah — A woman who was seriously injured in a wrong-way crash in July called on the state Friday to do more about repeat DUI offenders.
Laney Peake and her 2 friends were headed northbound on Legacy Parkway just before midnight on July 4. They were near mile marker 2 in North Salt Lake when a car heading the wrong way struck them.
“Some guy got on the exit ramp and hit us going head-on about 65 miles-an-hour,” Peake told KSL in an interview Friday.
Peake said both vehicles were “demolished” and she was lift-pinned inside her friend’s car when first responders arrived.
“The dashboard was in my lap and I had broken my femur, so I wasn’t able to wiggle out from underneath it,” Peake said. “I had broken both my elbow and my wrist.”
According to court documents, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper could smell alcohol on the breath of then-24-year-old Jean Rojas Campos. A jail probable cause affidavit said the trooper administered a preliminary breath test (PBT) and it produced a blood alcohol concentration of .25, or 5 times the legal limit in Utah.
Blood results were still pending as of the time prosecutors filed charges.
Rojas Campos, now 25, was charged with 3rd-degree felony negligently operating a vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury and 2 counts of class A misdemeanor negligently operating a vehicle resulting in bodily injury and additional misdemeanor charges related to his status as an alcohol-restricted driver allegedly driving on a suspended or revoked operators license.
He pleaded not guilty to those charges on July 25 and as of Saturday was still being held without bail in the Davis County Jail.
Peake, who had 5 surgeries in 2 months and still faces a lengthy recovery, said it was a crash that didn’t need to happen.
Charging documents also stated Rojas Campos had “two other DUI cases pending,” including one less than 10 days prior to the crash.
“It’s scary and it’s concerning and it’s a danger to the community,” Peake said.
The collision that injured Peake was only one of the latest involving a driver accused of repeat DUIs.
On Wednesday, Utah County Sheriff’s deputies said a crash in Eagle Mountain was caused by a suspected DUI driver who was released from jail less than 7 hours earlier following another arrest on suspicion of DUI.
“We saw that video and I was horrified—I’m like 2 DUIs in 24 hours?” Peake questioned.
Greg Skordas, criminal defense attorney and legal analyst, acknowledged the crashes were concerning but also said it was difficult to do much more under the law.
“It’s hard to regulate DUI cases because it’s a disease—alcoholism is a real problem,” Skordas said.
Skordas said under Utah law, a third DUI in less than 10 years results in a felony that carries up to 5 years in prison and a mandatory 62 days in jail.
“I think the legislature has done a good job of trying to deal with it with the license restrictions and interlock devices you have to blow into to operate your car,” Skordas told KSL 5. “You can’t absolutely prevent people from driving intoxicated.”
Peake said she still felt like the system was ultimately “unfair” to the victims of repeat DUI offenders.
“I get you can’t hold them forever but at what point is it infringing on the rights of other people to just drive to work in the morning,” Peake said. “I don’t know what the solution is but there needs to be something figured out because this is dangerous.”