PROVO A lengthy driving-under-the-influence history and a recent no-show at a court hearing mean a Utah County man may be spending Christmas in jail unless he can come up with $100,000 cash-only bail.
Robert VanDyke, 42, arrived at court Wednesday with family and friends for a hearing. He was arrested after he entered, spending the hearing in a shirt, tie and temporary shackles.
VanDyke was arrested near a sports complex in Spanish Fork on Sept. 25 after residents called police to say they didn't think he should be driving.
However, after bailing out of jail, VanDyke who has five DUI or alcohol-related reckless driving charges in the past 10 years failed to show up for a hearing last Friday.
Fourth District Court Judge Claudia Laycock ordered a no-bail warrant for his arrest.
On Wednesday, VanDyke stood beside his attorney, Shelden Carter, to testify under oath that the entire thing was a misunderstanding and that he would never "in a million years have thumbed his nose at this court."
He explained that he had talked with one of Carter's associates and Carter's secretary about getting a continuance for his hearing until after the holidays.
But that wasn't the excuse Laycock heard last Friday. After a phone call to VanDyke, Carter told the court his client didn't have a ride, which Laycock didn't look on favorably. VanDyke had 23 days to arrange one.
"I'm not satisfied with the defendant's story today for several reasons," she said during the Wednesday hearing. "I'm presented with a story that logically makes no sense to this court. His attorney is Mr. Carter ... and he never got word to Mr. Carter. The court ... was never contacted with a motion to entertain (about changing dates). Mr. Carter was here ready to proceed (last Friday). I find that the defendant voluntarily chose not to be here."
She then outlined his criminal history. VanDyke has five convictions for DUI or alcohol-related reckless driving, including one count of automobile homicide, for a January 2000 crash in West Valley City that killed a mother and left her daughter blind in one eye.
"I believe he is a danger to the (community)," Laycock said. "I am going to change the bail in this matter. I tend to find that $100,000 cash is a bit dramatic ... but how much value do I put on someone else's life being sacrificed because of possible drinking (by) this man?"
And with that, she raised the bail from $2,500 cash or bond to $100,000 cash-only bail.
Carter said he would file a motion asking the court to suppress certain pieces of evidence.
During questioning, Carter asked Spanish Fork police officer Matt Johnson what VanDyke did that constituted a traffic violation.
"He was driving within his lane of travel, moving within the lane of travel," Carter said. "You actually observed no traffic violations?"
"Correct," Johnson said, then explained that when VanDyke pulled over, he pulled in behind him and went to talk with him.
VanDyke refused to take field sobriety tests or a breath test, so Johnson had no way to know how much alcohol he had consumed, Carter said.
"So based on the determination that he had some slurred speech, you made the determination that he was impaired?" Carter asked."From the totality that I observed, I did," Johnson said.