Two more deaths add to UHP's concern for Labor Day weekend
(KUTV) Two more deaths on Utah's roads on Saturday underscored the concern of the Utah Highway Patrol, as dozens of additional troopers stepped up patrols for the final holiday weekend of the summer.
Two people were involved in a deadly crash on Highway 89 in Kane County Saturday afternoon, where the Utah Highway Patrol said a vehicle drifted into the oncoming traffic lane and struck another vehicle head-on. Officials said the crash occurred near the town of Big Water.
Jay Russell, 53, the driver of the vehicle that drifted into the oncoming lane, was not wearing a seatbelt and died from his injuries, investigators said. Richard Nutt, 78, the driver of the other car, was wearing a seatbelt but later died from his injuries. Authorities said. Russell was from Page, Ariz. and Nutt was from Douglas, Ga.
No one else was riding in either vehicle, officials said.
The deaths came as Utah Highway Patrol troopers stepped up patrols to deter people from driving drunk or committing other types of safety violations. The Labor Day holiday is the final holiday weekend of the summer and the culmination of the so-called '100 Deadliest Days in Utah.'
"Hopefully, everyone can enjoy their weekend and do it safely," said UHP Trooper Brian Schultz. "We had a lot more fatalities these last 100 days than we would have liked."
The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the 100 Deadliest Days in Utah, and in that time nearly 100 people have been killed on Utah roads -- several more than 2013's total during that same time.
That's precisely why the Utah Highway Patrol is stepping up trooper presence this weekend, with approximately 260 additional troopers patrolling the roads. They are looking out for all kinds of trouble -- not the least of which is drunk driving.
"Our ultimate goal is to keep the roads safe," Schultz said. "To get those who have chosen to act irresponsibly, and drive while impaired, off the road before they hurt someone."
Troopers are also actively watching out for speeders, distracted and drowsy drivers, and people not wearing their seatbelts. And if they see anything suspicious, they say they will act fast.
"Slow down. Move over for us. Give us some space. Let us do our job so we can get everyone home safe," Schultz said.
Reported by Daniel Woodruff
Follow Daniel on Twitter @Danielmwoodruff
Photo: Utah Highway Patrol
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)
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Federal Judge rules in favor of Utah 'Sister Wives' family
(KUTV) Polygamy is back in the news after a finalized ruling by a federal judge in Utah came out earlier this week.
Federal Judge Clark Waddoups on Wednesday ruled in favor of the stars of the TLC reality show Sister Wives back in December of 2013, essentially striking down Utah's anti-polygamy law.
Kody Brown and his wives sued the state of Utah after a county prosecutor threatened to charge them under the state's bigamy law. Waddoups ruled the law forbidding cohabitation violates the Brown's freedom of religion. He did not strike down the part of the statute that prevents someone from having more than one active marriage license.
On Wednesday, the judge's final decision reiterated his initial ruling and, among other things, ordered that the plaintiffs - Brown and his four wives a be awarded attorneys' fees, costs and all court expenses incurred.
At a monthly press conference Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert was asked about the ruling.
"I think it's probably not good policy and good practice for families to have that sort of situation. So, that's my own provincial view of traditional marriage. But, it's something that doesn't seem to be enforced, has not been enforced and I think that's a part of the reason why the courts ruled the way they ruled."
Attorney General Sean Reyes said in February he would appeal the federal court ruling when it became final.
Friday, his spokeswoman issued the following statement on his behalf: "The Attorney General's Office is currently reviewing Judge Waddoups' ruling of Brown v. Herbert and will make a final determination of whether or not to appeal one or more of the issues in the decision within the coming weeks. It is important to legally assess the ruling's scope and how it will impact future litigation."
Reyes' office has 30 days to decide whether or not to appeal.
To see Judge Waddoup's decision in the case, which was issued Wednesday, CLICK HERE.
UHP troopers add extra weekend patrols to crack down on drunk driving
(KUTV) Utah authorities are trying to finish the so-called 100 Deadliest Days in Utah this weekend, by deterring as many people as possible from driving under the influence.
The Utah Highway Patrol has dedicated dozens of additional troopers to that cause for the Labor Day weekend, which is the final holiday of the summer. The holiday also culminates the 100 Deadliest Days in Utah, a time during the summer when DUI-related deaths statistically spike.
Friday night alone, troopers said they arrested 14 people along the Wasatch Front. And this year has been even deadlier than last year, officials said, as five more people were killed during this span than in 2013. The Fourth of July holiday was especially bad, as nine people died in crashes that weekend.
However, troopers said they aren't only looking for drunk drivers. They will also be on the lookout for other infractions, like speeding and failing to buckle up.
"There's going to be a lot more of us out on the road," said UHP Trooper Brian Shultz. "Keep an eye out and please slow down. Move over for us, give us some space. Let us do our job so we can get everyone home safe."
The Utah Highway Patrol said it has an extra 266 patrols out for the Labor Day weekend.
(KUTV) Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is working on a plan to allow the state's impoverished to receive federally-funded health care coverage, but with one stipulation: They must find work.
Under Herbert's 'Healthy Utah' plan, the state would take federal funds to help needy residents acquire health care coverage. And he believes those who receive it should be employed.
"If you want taxpayers to subsidize you and buy you health insurance, you need to look for a job," Herbert said.
However, Herbert added that the requirement won't apply to everyone, just the able-bodied.
"We would give a pass to those with a physical disability, mental disability," he said.
U.S. Health and Human Services chief Sylvia Burwell acknowledged that Utah can indeed negotiate its own plan for covering the state's needy. However, she said the work requirement poses a stumbling block.
The state government has hired attorneys who claim that the work requirement will not pose an obstacle because they are allowed by law.
"We do it with food stamps. We do it with temporary assistance," Herbert said.
Regardless of what program Utah will ultimately offer impoverished residents, it will need to be negotiated by both Gov. Herbert and Secretary Burwell.
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