CLEARFIELD, Utah, July 21, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah woman has been booked into the Davis County jail on multiple charges after an early morning accident that injured three construction workers and one passenger on Interstate 15 near Clearfield.
Driver Kolopa Kulitea, 32, is facing charges of:
- Four counts of driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol, a class A misdemeanor
- Possession of a controlled substance, marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor
- Failure to operate within a single lane, an infraction
She is being held on $5,000 bail.
A probable cause statement in the case says that at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, an officer from Utah Highway Patrol responded on a report that “a white pickup truck had entered into the construction closure northbound I-15 near 650 North in Clearfield and crashed.
“A trooper that was working on a traffic control assignment with the construction company at the time witnessed the white pickup enter the closure, striking barrels before hitting three construction workers that were actively working in the construction zone. All three construction workers sustained bodily injuries as a result of the collision and were transported to Davis Hospital.”
The white pickup continued northbound and struck the rear of a blue Hyundai SUV
before coming to a rest, the statement says.
“A passenger in the blue Hyundai was also transported to Davis Hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.”
The driver of the pickup, now identified as Kolopa Akanesi Kulitea, told the officer she was traveling north and “attempting to pass another vehicle when the accelerator pedal of her vehicle became stuck, causing her to lose control of the vehicle’s speed. She
explained that using the brake pedal, she was able to maintain the speed of her vehicle between 60-80 mph.
“Kulitea explained that she swerved ‘wherever there was open space’ in an attempt to maintain control of her vehicle,” the probable cause statement says. “When I questioned Kulitea about if she had impacted anything, she explained that she was unaware that
any impact with pedestrians occurred. Kulitea explained at one point that she was unaware that she had impacted another vehicle.”
The officer asked Kulitea if she had used marijuana recently, “and she explained that she used marijuana recreationally at 1 or 2 a.m.,” the statement says. “Kulitea also explained that she had vape with marijuana in her vehicle.”
Field sobriety tests revealed signs of impairment, the statement says. A Davis County Sheriff’s deputy performed additional tests on Kulitea, which also revealed signs of impairment.
“At the conclusion of my investigation, I determined that Kulitea was unsafe to operate a motor vehicle and placed her under arrest,” the trooper’s statement says. “During an inventory of the vehicle, a deputy located a vape pen containing a thick, gold oil substance that was seized as evidence.”
All injuries suffered by the three construction workers were relatively minor, UHP spokesman Lt. Nick Street told Gephardt Daily. All are expected to survive their injuries.