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New charges filed against Susan Hunt in DUI, endangerment case (+video)

TOOELE — New charges were filed Monday in the DUI case against Susan Hunt, who is accused of her second run-in with police since her son was shot and killed by officers in 2014.

Hunt endangered others by driving dangerously on the wrong side of state Route 73 near Stockton, Tooele County, on Jan. 26, according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers said they had to block her car with their patrol vehicles and negotiate with her for almost 15 minutes to get her to exit her car.

Hunt is charged with reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a class B misdemeanor; having an open container inside a vehicle on a highway, a class C misdemeanor; and driving on the wrong side of the road, an infraction.

It wasn't clear Monday whether that case would be reactivated as a result of the new charges against Hunt.

The reckless endangerment count is a more serious charge than class B misdemeanor reckless driving, which Hunt originally was charged with Jan. 29 in Tooele County Justice Court. The other charges are the same as the previous filing against her.

Hunt's charges from late January were later dismissed because prosecutors decided the case was serious enough to pursue in district court instead, said Gary Searle, chief deputy attorney for Tooele County.

The district court charges weren't filed until Monday because the county attorney's office was waiting for the results of a toxicology report in the case, Searle said. That report revealed Hunt had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 at the time of her confrontation with police — nearly twice the legal limit, he said.

The report also indicated Hunt had a legal prescription "controlled substance" in her system at the time, according to Searle. The substance had a "synergistic" effect with the alcohol, he said, making Hunt more impaired than she would have been with only alcohol in her system. Searle declined to say what controlled substance was identifed in the toxicology report.

A Utah Highway Patrol report alleges Hunt was combative with troopers, calling them "evil" and saying she wished their children would die.

Hunt's son, Darrien, 22, was shot and killed by Saratoga Springs police officers in September 2014. At the time he was shot, he was running from officers after they had questioned him about the souvenir katana sword he was carrying around a shopping area.

Two months later, Susan Hunt was charged with interfering with an arresting officer, a misdemeanor, for a confrontation with Saratoga Springs police officers near the area where her son was killed. In September, she entered a diversion agreement in the case in which the charges against her would be dropped in six months as long as she completed grief counseling and violated no other laws.

Last month, a federal judge ordered Hunt to accept a $900,000 settlement she had agreed to with the city of Saratoga Springs over the death of her son. Hunt had earlier disputed that she had accepted offer and claimed that a nondisparagement clause, prohibiting her from speaking out about the shooting, was added to the proposed settlement without her knowledge.

Email: blockhart@deseretnews.com

Twitter: benlockhartnews