County Sheriff’s Report |

County Sheriff’s Report

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

A former Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who investigated narcotics cases in Park City, was suspended from law enforcement for three years, according to an agreement accepted Thursday by the Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training Council.

"Which is pretty harsh," replied Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who is a member of the POST Council, a body that disciplines police officers in the state.

James’ suspension stems from his drunken driving-related arrest that occurred in Salt Lake City, the sheriff said, adding that the ex-deputy’s suspension from law enforcement ends in July 2008.

"It’s certainly something that I would consider, because he was a very good deputy," Edmunds said when asked if he would re-hire James who left his post at the Sheriff’s Office after the arrest.

Swaner employee fired, Sheriff’s Office investigates

Officials at the Swaner Nature Preserve discovered accounting irregularities on Wednesday that led to an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the firing of one employee at the preserve.

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About $25,000 is missing from the non-profit group’s payroll and vendor accounts, according to Swaner Nature Preserve CEO Colleen Rush.

Swaner officials and Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brad Wilde, who is investigating the case, wouldn’t release the name of the employee who was fired.

"We haven’t had a whole lot of time to look into it," Sheriff Dave Edmunds said. "We haven’t even had a chance to talk to the suspect."

Authorities didn’t expect to file formal charges in the case on Friday.

Death investigations

Deputies in Summit County who investigated several deaths last week concluded that none of the cases involved foul play.

"We had seven death investigations in seven days," Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said.

The string of deaths included a 65-year-old woman from Wyoming who drowned June 4 in the Provo River in the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas, he said.

In a separate case, officers investigated the death of a man who was in his 20s who investigators believe died following a drug overdose at the Blonquist Motel in Coalville on June 7.

"We treat them all like they could be suspicious initially," Edmunds said. "It warrants a full-blown response from the Sheriff’s Office."

The man was found at the motel on Main Street in Coalville not breathing at around 8:24 a.m.

Meanwhile, on June 9 a woman from Washington state, who was traveling through eastern Summit County, died of natural causes in Coalville, authorities say.

"That looks like it’s probably a natural death," Edmunds said, adding that a medical helicopter was flown to the scene of that death.

Before she died, the 69-year-old woman had an asthma attack at roughly 5 p.m., a Sheriff’s Office incident report states.

"It’s tragic," Edmunds said. "There are seven families who have been affected by these."

Deputies also investigated a spike in apparent suicides and suicide attempts that Edmunds said are typical in Summit County in the summer.

"There are people who travel to Summit County for the purpose of ending it all," Edmunds said, adding that suicides in the summer in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest are common.

At least one man from western Summit County died last week from a suicide attempt, explained the sheriff, who refused to release the victim’s name.

"[The victims] were people who were noteworthy from the standpoint that they were older people who had been around a long time and had probably acquired a lot of friends and a lot of business associates," Edmunds said while describing those who died.