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UHP Trooper Asks Driver For Proof Of Insurance, Driver Hands Him A Walmart Receipt


3/15/24


March 3rd, 2024, At 9:30 pm, a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper (UHP) received a call from dispatch about a possible drunk driver. The caller stated that the driver was swerving and couldn't maintain their speed.


Trooper Englebright received the description of the vehicle as a black Chevrolet Colorado pickup.


Soon, a vehicle matching that description was seen traveling east on US-40 near mile marker 117 in Uintah County began swerving in its lane. The pickup was traveling at 70 mph in a 60 mph zone.


Trooper Englebright pulled the vehicle over and spoke with the driver, who was later identified as 31-year-old Veronica Marie Atencio. He explained the reason for the stop. Veronica was having difficulty finding her registration and insurance, so when the trooper asked for them, Veronica handed him a receipt from Walmart.


Veronica's speech was slurred, and her answers were slow and confusing. The trooper decided to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.


I asked if she would be willing to go through the field sobriety tests and she said yes. I asked her to step out of the vehicle, which she did. Before the tests I asked her if she had any medical conditions, to which she stated she did not. I observed that she had brown eyes, equal pupil size, equal tracking, and no resting nystagmus.


I observed horizontal gaze nystagmus in both eyes during the lack of smooth pursuit. I observed distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes. I also observed onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both eyes. I observed no vertical gaze nystagmus. In total for the horizontal gaze nystagmus test I observed six of six clues.


Before the nine-step walk and turn, I explained the test, and I had to remind her to remain in the position of instruction repeatedly. She struggled to follow instructions and started the test too soon multiple times. I demonstrated the test for her. I asked if she understood the test, to which she stated she did. When she did start the test, she missed heel to toe on every single step. She stepped offline on almost every step. She performed an improper turn by not planting her foot and taking multiple steps with both feet. In total, I observed five out of eight clues for the nine-step walk and turn.


Before the one-leg stand, I explained the test. She stated that she understood and had no questions. During the one-leg stand, she raised her right foot, standing on her left. She put her foot down repeatedly until stopping the test after sixteen seconds and refused to continue the tests. She stated that she had been drinking."~UHP Trooper Englebright


Veronica was then placed under arrest for DUI, and a search of her person was conducted, and nothing illegal was found.


Trooper Lorensen did an inventory of the pickup and found two open liquor bottles, THC-infused chocolate, a THC-infused drink, and two baggies with unknown white and blue powder.


At the hospital, Veronica refused to take a blood test. While there, she kept repeating she was drunk and wanted to go to jail. A blood draw warrant was applied for and approved.


While serving the warrant, Veronica refused to get out of the car and stated that she would fight any officer or hospital staff who tried to remove her from the vehicle. The trooper tried multiple times to reason with her and told her she didn't have a choice.


Veronica kept saying she just wanted to die, and somehow grabbed the car door and shut it on the trooper. She was then transported to the Uintah County Jail.





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