Discredited UHP trooper files appeal, faces civil lawsuits

Published: Friday, Dec. 14 2012 3:25 p.m. MST

A motorist suspected on driving while under the influence of a control substance performs a field sobriety test conducted by Trooper Lisa Steed (right) in Davis County. The motorist was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. Thursday, February 12, 2010.

Michael Brandy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A discredited Utah Highway Patrol trooper filed an appeal Friday to get her job back.

The action came on the same day that a civil lawsuit was filed against her by two motorists who claim they were illegally arrested for investigation of DUI even though they weren't drunk.

Lisa Steed, the Utah Highway Patrol's 2007 Trooper of the Year, was fired after it was revealed in 3rd District Court that she violated department policies, falsified police reports and used questionable practices when making DUI arrests.

Steed's first appeal with the department was denied earlier this month. Her second appeal, a more formal appeal with the state, was filed Friday by her attorney, Greg Skordas.

Also Friday, Thomas Romero and Julie Tapia filed a civil suit with the help of Salt Lake City attorney Robert Sykes against Steed and the UHP. Both parties claim they were pulled over and arrested by Steed for investigation of DUI in 2011, but all charges against them were later dropped because there was no evidence of alcohol in their systems, according to the lawsuit.

Utah Highway Patrol administrators continued to let Steed be on the road for two years after possible improprieties were brought to their attention, the suit states.

"A veritable culture of corruption existed with a section of the UHP which was charged with DUI enforcement," the lawsuit states. "Despite their knowledge of the inadequacy of the state's supervision, training and discipline of UHP troopers, defendants UHP and the state of Utah have failed to reform the chaotic system in any meaningful way."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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