Driving under the influence can have serious consequences for both oneself and others on the road, as a Salt Lake County, Utah man discovered on Sunday. Not only is he suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, but he also ran from police when they tried to pull him over on the road. This resulted in a high-speed chase and eventual crash.
The man in question is named Braulio Rios-Morales, a 39-year-old man. This wasn’t just any type of DUI arrest, either. There was a peculiar series of events that happened before police arrived on the scene. Officers explain that Morales called dispatch repeatedly before the incident from the parking lot of a local grocery store.
Unified Police Lieutenant Brian Lohrke explains that the call consisted of, “Just with a slew of suicidal comments, sounded like he was intoxicated on some type of substance.” Officers were unable to arrive on the scene before the man got behind the wheel of a car. Bizarrely enough, the calls continued during the chase, with a lot of confusing location updates and many suicidal comments that continued to let police know how important it was to apprehend this man before something bad happened.
Lieutenant Lohrke reported that “He mentioned at one point he was at the Smith’s Marketplace. He mentioned he was at the Callaway Apartments, and we eventually located him at the West Valley Wells Fargo bank at Valley Fair Mall.” This confusing series of updates, while the suspect was on the road, was a frightening series of events for police. DUI offenders often cause bodily harm on the road and one that is suicidal definitely made police fear the worst if he was not apprehended.
The chase momentarily slowed when the suspect collided with a vehicle, but the suspect continued to flee from police even after he’d experienced an accident. Even when he was missing a front tire, Rios-Morales continued to evade police.
To stop the chase, officers performed a PIT maneuver. Finally, Rios-Morales was stopped and taken into custody. Lieutenant Lohrke points out that at that point, he felt that there was “imminent risk” to public safety is Rios-Morales was allowed to continue his destructive ride. This case highlights one a common characteristic of many DUI cases: The instance of multiple charges as well as the possible existence of mental illness in this case. The multiple phone calls to dispatch emphasizing his desire to die as well as the ensuing chase hint that Rios-Morales may have been mentally ill at the time of his arrest.
The suspect is facing multiple charges: DUI, felony fleeing, fleeing the scene of an accident, and reckless driving. More charges may be added later or some may be removed. The civilian that Rios-Morales hit with his car was thankfully uninjured but he feared for his safety during the incident, as it came out of nowhere on the road.
This case highlights many of the important things listed on DUIwise.com, a website to help defenders know their options in a DUI accusation. Many people visit the site because they realize that in almost every instance of a DUI case, there is a great need to hire a DUI lawyer if you want to plead not guilty, or if you want to get the best possible sentencing arrangements after the incident.
The case of Rios-Morales emphasizes many of the reasons why DUIwise exists. Take for example the phone calls that mention suicide before he drives drunk. The possibility of mental illness makes it even more important for a lawyer to be contacted to represent Rios-Morales, who may have been mentally ill at the time of the incident. The fact that he’s facing multiple charges and a felony charge makes it even more important for someone to secure representation for him that will give him the best chance to rehabilitate himself later on.
If police incorrectly handled the incident, it’s even possible that his case could be thrown out. Mental illness may also leave room for the case to be thrown out or for charges to be reduced. If Rios-Morales went into this case alone, he would likely plead guilty and face many years in prison and a host of fines and other consequences. With a lawyer representing him in court, he’s going to have his best chance to get help.
Salt Lake County authorities are glad that the dangerous ride of Rios-Morales is over and that thankfully no civilians were hurt during the ensuing police chase. Obviously, authorities will review the calls to dispatch and have them available to lawyers and the court so that everyone can get a clearer picture of what happened on Sunday.
DUI cases like this rarely feature this many variables, interactions with police, and resulting charges, but it’s important to remember that these cases do border on the bizarre at times. People who develop a problem with alcohol will eventually find themselves in the eye of the public and what happens is rarely good news. What is good news is that with the proper treatment, especially in cases where mental illness plays a part in the substance abuse, people like Rios-Morales can re-enter society and begin to play a positive role instead of a dangerous one element. It’s up to a good DUI lawyer to look at the facts of the case and help the defendant understand what their best options are.
Time will tell whether or not Rios-Morales accepts a plea bargain or goes to trial. As of now, the facts of the case are still being gathered and witnesses are still being questioned. Police Officers that were involved in the incident describe Rios-Morales as someone who simply wouldn’t stop, no matter they tried to do, and he definitely didn’t stop for one unfortunate civilian on the road who is still shaken up mentally from the incident. More news is pending on whether or not Rios-Morales is still incarcerated or will be free on bond sometime in the near future.