Lawman appears in court to face DUI
A former Summit County Sheriff’s Office captain appeared last week in a Salt Lake City courtroom to face accusations that he was intoxicated and driving too fast when his vehicle tipped over Feb. 1 on Brown’s Canyon Road in South Summit.
Kamas resident Joseph Offret is charged with a class A misdemeanor for allegedly driving under the influence, and two class C misdemeanors for allegedly driving too fast for existing conditions and having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
"There’s an accident and there’s a child in the car," said Bruce Savage, Offret’s defense attorney from Park City. "I understand why the state filed what they did, but I’m confident that won’t be the final result."
During Offret’s initial court appearance May 15, the judge set a pre-trial conference for June 26 at 1:30 p.m.
"By the time we’re really done dealing with it, I think that the charges that we’re looking at will not be the ultimate resolution," said Savage, who expects the case to go to trial.
To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Summit County Attorney David Brickey asked prosecutors in Salt Lake to determine whether charges should be filed against Offret.
Authorities claim Offret’s 11-year-old daughter was in his vehicle when it turned over about a half-mile from S.R. 248 near the Summit County line.
Offret was traveling toward Park City around 6 p.m. at the time of crash, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Randall Richey said.
Brickey says videotape recorded at the scene of the crash shows a semi-trailer "jack-knifed" on a snowy road.
Another vehicle can be seen on the side of the road, he added.
Though Offret’s blood alcohol content was below Utah’s legal limit of .08 grams, because of the crash and inclement weather, investigator’s claim he was unable to safely operate the vehicle, Brickey said.
Offret, a Democrat, lost a close race to become Summit County sheriff in 2002 to Republican Sheriff Dave Edmunds. Offret, who is 43 years old, retired from the Sheriff’s Office around the time of his arrest.
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The South Summit Board of Education voted 4-1 to put a bond measure on November’s ballot asking for $87 million to build a new high school.