Suit Claims Officer Faked D.U.I. Cases
There was a time not so long ago when Lisa Steed’s stock as a corporal in the Utah Highway Patrol was soaring.
Passionate about police work, with a wide smile and a notable number of driving-under-the-influence arrests to show for her diligence, Corporal Steed was named trooper of the year by her superiors in 2007, her career seemingly heading toward the inevitable promotions.
In November, however, the once promising officer was fired amid a haze of misconduct allegations.
Though the Highway Patrol would not discuss Ms. Steed’s dismissal, a lawsuit claims she falsified dozens of those arrests during her 10-year career.
According to the suit, filed Dec. 14 in District Court in Salt Lake County, Ms. Steed made a career of pulling over drivers who she claimed were driving drunk or under the influence.
There was only one problem. Some of the drivers Ms. Steed arrested had not been drinking, or at least not enough to be reasonably impaired, according to the lawsuit, brought by a group of Utah lawyers on behalf of two plaintiffs.
In several cases, those who were arrested did not drink alcohol, said Robert Sykes, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint, which names Ms. Steed and the Highway Patrol as defendants.
“We were all separately getting calls about Lisa Steed from people saying: ‘I was pulled over. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. She told me I smelled like alcohol, but I hadn’t been drinking,’ ” Mr. Sykes said.
“They would pass the sobriety test with flying colors. But Steed would say they were still impaired and arrest them.”