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Woman thanks UHP for arresting her for DUI while police announce increased efforts to find impaired drivers

(UHP Sergeant Nick Bricker, left. Hillary Staska, right. Credit: Paul Nelson)

WASATCH FRONT – Get ready for a lot of extra police officers all over the roads.  The UHP and other agencies are significantly increasing their efforts to find impaired drivers.

Meanwhile, one woman is thanking the UHP for putting her behind bars almost four years ago.

Back in January 2016, UHP Sergeant Nick Bricker spotted a woman who was so drunk that when she was asked to show her driver’s license, she took out a credit card instead.  Eventually, he was able to get her ID so he could write up the report.

“I paused, briefly, to run her driver’s license, and it was at that time I realized I knew her,” Bricker says.

The intoxicated woman was an old high school classmate of his, Hillary Staska.  The two lived on the same block growing up, and Bricker was still friends with her family.

He admits, he had an internal conflict after realizing who she was.  He wondered if he should just take her home, or if he should call her parents.  However, Bricker says the right thing to do was to book her into jail.

Staska says being booked for DUI was the best thing that could have happened to her.

She doesn’t remember much about that night.  She remembers feeling the handcuffs around her wrists, but, that’s it.  All she can recall was waking up in the “drunk tank” of the Davis County Jail, in a panic.

“The first thought I had was, ‘I don’t know where my son is,” she says.

This was not her first DUI.  Staska says she had done it plenty of times in the past, but, this time, her family decided not to bail her out.  This time, she was on her own.

She says, “I remember calling them a couple of times and asking them, ‘I know you don’t want to, but, can you get me from the jail?’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’”

This was “rock bottom” for Staska.  She says the court appearances, the counseling and the other work she was ordered to do showed her she was on a potentially deadly path.

She has been sober ever since.

“It saved me.  It saved my son.  It saved so many people on the roads,” Staska says, adding, “It is so terrifying that I thought I was OK.  I had done thing time and time before.  There were more time than not that I drove, over the past ten years, completely drunk.”

Between December 15 and January 1, over 20 different law enforcement agencies will be offering 172 shifts for officers to look for impaired drivers.