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Thursday April 18, 2024 Salt Lake City, UT

Media Alert

PIO

Press Release

UHP and West Jordan PD Team Up for Joint DUI Enforcement Blitz in Memory of Eli Mitchell

Friday December 30, 2022

New Year’s Eve Blitz is in addition to statewide extra DUI enforcement.

WHAT: SALT LAKE CITY (December, 30, 2022) 
As Utahns prepare to ring in the New Year, two law enforcement agencies want to remind everyone never to drink and drive.

The Utah Highway Patrol and West Jordan Police Department are joining forces for a special DUI blitz on New Year’s Eve. UHP and West Jordan Police Department are dedicating the enforcement blitz to 13-year-old Eli Mitchell, who was struck and killed by an impaired driver eight months ago.

In April of this year, 13-year-old Eli Mitchell was riding his bike home from the grocery store in West Jordan when he was struck and killed by an impaired driver. West Jordan Police officers later arrested the driver, who fled the scene.  

“Eli was taken from his family far too soon by the selfish actions of one person. Dedicating this enforcement blitz to Eli emphasizes the life-saving impact that removing impaired drivers from our roads has,” says West Jordan Chief Ken Wallentine. “Every drunk driver our troopers and officers arrest represents possible lives saved. We will continue to enforce our DUI laws to help prevent other families from experiencing tragedies like the Mitchells have had to endure,” says Colonel Mike Rapich.

This New Year’s Eve joint enforcement blitz is in addition to the ongoing national year-end Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization to take impaired drivers off the roads and to spread the word about the dangers of impaired driving. During this time, officers from 27 law enforcement agencies throughout the state are working more than  240 overtime shifts to deter, detect and remove drunk drivers from our roads. 

According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, holiday celebrations bring higher numbers of impaired drivers to the roads, endangering those drivers and the many other innocent people on the roads with them.  An alarming 34% of roadway fatalities in 2022 were related to alcohol or drug-impaired driving. 
 
Drunk driving is a crime that is 100 percent preventable. People who drink need to make the conscious decision never to get behind the wheel after drinking. If you see a friend who is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911. 
 
The media is invited to interview officials with the Utah Highway Patrol, West Jordan Police Department, and the Mitchell family to discuss enforcement efforts happening over the holiday weekend.  

WHEN:             
Saturday, December 31st, 9 pm

WHERE:              
UHP Section 4 Office
5681 South 320 West
Murray, Utah 84107

WHO:

  • Mitchell Family Member
  • Chief Ken Wallentine –  West Jordan Police Department
  • Colonel Mike Rapich – Utah Highway Patrol

VISUALS & INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Officers and Troopers at the briefing before they start enforcement.
  • One-on-one interviews with Mitchell family and law enforcement
  • Ride alongs available 

Media Contact:
Sgt. Cameron Roden, UHP PIO
801-554-5659
croden@utah.gov

###

MEDIA CONTACT

Hillary Koellner
Director of Public Affairs
Department of Public Safety
hmkoellner@utah.gov

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