By Travis Uresk
Vernal, Ut.-On 7/18/23, Officer Oldham noticed a gold Toyota Scion had improper registration. As he looked up the license plate number, the driver pulled into El Sombrero restaurant at 395 East Main St.
The Officer drove around the block, waiting for the license plate information to return. The information came back that the owner of the Scion had two state-wide warrants, both for drug paraphernalia.
Officer Oldham returned around the block, and the Scion was still parked at El Sombrero. The Officer decided to park down the street and wait, hoping the Scion would travel West on Main Street. After about 15 minutes, the gold Cion pulled out onto Main St. and headed West.
Once the Scion passed the Officer's location, he pulled back onto the road activating his emergency lights. They both stopped in the back parking lot of the 711 Ranch restaurant.
Officer Oldham made contact with the driver and asked for her driver's license, and she stated she didn't have it on her at his time. She was asked for her name and DOB, and the Officer learned she was 34-year-old Laura Kay Jean Tapoof, the vehicle's registered owner.
A Uintah County Deputy arrived to assist while Officer Oldham had his K9 do a free air sniff around Laura's car and needed his help to watch.
Laura said they didn't need to and confessed that there was marijuana inside her backpack.
Dispatch also advised the Officer that Laura is an alcohol-restricted driver. As the Officer was looking at Laura's information on his computer, he also learned she needed an ignition interlock device. When it was confirmed that Laura had the two warrants, she was asked to step out of her car, and it was explained that she had warrants and was being arrested.
Laura was handcuffed and escorted to the back of Officer Oldham's vehicle.
Officer Oldham took the backpack and placed it on the back of his patrol vehicle, and conducted a search. He found three containers of marijuana. There was an open can of beer in the back on the floor. Laura claimed she had drunk and smoked marijuana earlier that morning before leaving Ft. Duchesne to drive to Vernal.
A tow truck was called in to impound the Scion. Laura was asked if she had an ignition interlock device inside the vehicle, and she wouldn't answer. The Officer did not locate one inside her vehicle.
Laura was transported to the Uintah County Jail. While walking in, Officer Oldham asked her before walking through the jail doors if anything would get her into more trouble. Laura answered, "No."
The Officer handed Laura's belonging to the Jailer, and he conducted a search and found a small bag of meth inside her wallet. Shortly after finding the bag of meth, a VPD Officer contacted Officer Oldham, saying they found another small bag with a very small amount of meth and more drug paraphernalia.
The officers had Laura blow into two different portable breath tests. One from the jail tested .045, and the intoxylizer was .032