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Utah Highway Patrol trooper accused of false DUI arrests, lawsuit says

- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2013

A Utah state trooper with a reputation for nabbing drunken drivers now faces legal fire as dozens of her victims are lining up for a possible class-action suit, alleging they weren't under the influence when she stopped their vehicles and she abused her police power.

The suit also names the Utah Highway Patrol, according to an Associated Press report.

Lisa Steed was a trooper with 10 years of experience and an uncanny ability, according to one of her supervisors, for arresting criminals, AP report. She was the first female trooper to be named Utah Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year, AP said.

Now, she's fired — and both she and her former supervisors are being sued. Dozens of those she arrested over the years for driving-under-the-influence charges say they weren't under the influence at all. Many spent thousands of dollars trying to clear their names; many, too, faced job losses due to the arrests, AP said.

"If we don't stand up to Lisa Steed or law enforcement, they just pull people over for whatever reason they want," said attorney Michael Studebaker, who is representing the two defendants in their suit.

Ms. Steed, through her attorney, has denied the charges.

Mr. Studebaker said dozens more want to join the suit, and he has asked that it be expanded to class-action size. He also said there could be as many as 1,500 people who were wrongfully arrested by Ms. Steed, AP reports.

The suit also says Highway Patrol superiors ignored warning signs of Ms. Steed's DUI arrests and waited too long to take her off patrol duties, AP said.

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