SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 16, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — In the course of a 23-year career, KUTV news anchor Shauna Lake has risen steadily through the ranks, parlaying her talent, drive and dedication into a mass following of local news viewers — a following that’s not only made her one of Utah’s most-liked and trusted news personalities, but also helped propel the Sinclair-owned CBS affiliate to nearly a decade of ratings dominance.
On Tuesday’s 5 p.m. newscast, an emotional Lake returned to the air and asked Utah news viewers to continue that trust — a relationship which was rocked by the recent revelation the popular anchor had been arrested for DUI.
Lake, 46, was taken into custody shortly after midnight a week ago Wednesday after a Utah Highway Patrol trooper witnessed her driving below the speed limit on southbound Interstate 15 near Murray. He also cited Lake for an alleged open-container violation, as well as for driving with improper plates and an expired vehicle registration.
Word of Lake’s arrest — even prior to her being formally charged — was trumpeted by rival news outlets and gave rise to speculation the veteran journalist’s job was in danger. That speculation, however, appeared to be squelched Tuesday afternoon when Lake offered an emotional apology to a tearful gathering of colleagues in the KUTV newsroom.
Those present said a subdued Lake took full responsibility for her actions and spoke remorsefully of the “selfish decisions” she said she made the night of her arrest.
Lake also thanked her co-workers for their outpouring of support, as well as the tens of thousands fans who contacted the station asking the anchor be given a second chance.
Two hours later, Lake appeared on-air and made the following statement:
“As many of you are aware, last Tuesday night I made a serious lapse in judgement,” Lake said. “I drank alcohol after I got off work. And then I chose to get behind the wheel of my car.
“I was pulled over and arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
“I am ashamed and humiliated by my decision. It was selfish. I could have hurt some one else, or myself.
“It was also selfish because I hurt you, KUTV viewers, who I truly consider to be my friends. You have invited me into your home night after night for 23 years. You have trusted me and considered me a friend and I let you down. And for that, I am so sorry.
“I also let my KUTV family down and for that I am so sorry; people whom I love, some of whom I’ve worked with for decades. I offer my apologies to my colleagues who are the very best, and kindest people in this business.
“I let my personal friends and family down, most notably my two sons, who are my life. I hurt them by making my selfish decision and to all of you — you know who you are –I’m so sorry to you.
“I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sentiments of keep your chin up, we all make mistakes, I’m praying for you, and, this too shall pass.
“I also know that some of you are very angry and disappointed in me and you have every right to be. What I did was wrong and I just hope that over time, night by night, you can learn to trust me again.
“This has been the most painful and challenging experience of my life, however, I believe it might possibly turn out to be the most defining moment in my life as well.
“Thank you for your support.”
Lake joined KUTV in 1994 where she was hired as a morning anchor. She ultimately moved into a weekend anchor position while working three days a week as lead reporter for KUTV’s 10 p.m. weekday newscast.
In 2007 Lake was promoted to 10 p.m. anchor after longtime anchor Michelle King retired after 23 years at KUTV.