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Citing ‘lack of admissible evidence,’ Utah County Attorney declines to prosecute BYU football star Chaz Ah You in DUI case

“This has nothing to do with who he is or where he attends school,” says Utah County Attorney David Leavitt in acknowledging that all five charges, including reckless driving and speeding 70 mph in a 35-55 mph zone, have been dropped

FILE: Brigham Young linebacker Chaz Ah You (3) in action against the Toledo during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 in Toledo, Ohio.
Rick Osentoski, AP

PROVO — The Utah County Attorney’s Office is not prosecuting BYU football star Chaz Ah You on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, reckless driving and three other traffic-related infractions in February.

“In this case, there is a lack of admissible evidence,” Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon a few hours after the Deseret News first reported that all five charges against Ah You had been dropped.

“Justice would not be served in this matter,” Leavitt continued. “This has nothing to do with who he is or where he attends school. My job is to safeguard the rights of all in a potential criminal matter and direct my attention to the law and the facts.”

A pretrial conference had been scheduled for Thursday in Utah County Justice Court, but was canceled on March 3 when Tammy Painter, a legal assistant in the county attorney’s office, wrote to the Utah County Justice Court that “our office is declining to prosecute this case.”

The case against Ah You was marked closed the day after BYU’s first spring practice on March 2.

Ah You’s attorney, Michael J. Petro, said it was his understanding that the charges were dropped due to “evidentiary issues” and some doubt from the UCAO “whether they could prevail” in the case.

“I discussed it with them, but I think the decision was made on their part,” Petro said, declining to speculate on or reveal what the exact problems were in the arrest. “I don’t know if common is the right word. Dropping charges happens, occasionally.”

The junior linebacker was pulled over by a Utah County sheriff’s deputy in Eagle Mountain on Feb. 9 and booked into the Utah County Jail.

“Every case is unique. Every case has its own facts. I lean on the experience of my screening team to wisely balance the evidence with the rights of the accused, and the State’s ability to be effective at trial,” Leavitt said in the news release, noting that he made “the final decision” after a group of “many of our most experienced attorneys” reviewed everything that was submitted by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Ah You has not participated in practices, and head coach Kalani Sitake said on March 2 that the player, who would have been sidelined anyway due to offseason shoulder surgery, “has got to go through a process” before he can rejoin the team.

Sitake said it would be “inappropriate” to say more.

“We love him and we will support him the best we can,” Sitake said last week.

A BYU football spokesperson confirmed Monday evening that Ah You is still enrolled in classes at BYU.

Ah You pleaded not guilty to all five charges on Feb. 12. The other charges were reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor; drinking in or about a vehicle, a class C misdemeanor; improper lane change in an occupied lane, an infraction; and speeding, an infraction.

Ah You was pulled over along Red Hawk Road near the Pony Express Parkway at 4:46 p.m. on a windy, but clear Sunday evening after a Utah County sheriff’s deputy observed him reaching speeds of 75 mph in areas where the posted limit was between 35 and 55, weaving in and out of traffic, following other vehicles too closely and not signaling for lane changes, according to a police booking affidavit.

The arresting officer said he performed an “inventory search” of Ah You’s vehicle and found an open container of alcohol, an empty container of alcohol, and a “THC vape pen” in the center console.

“Due to weather, I opted to perform my field sobriety test at the Utah County Jail,” the officer wrote.

Ah You was released on his own recognizance about 8 p.m. that evening without having to post bail.

During the testing at the jail, “the individual struggled on counting to 30 the first time so I offered him the test a second time with the same results,” the officer wrote. “Forensic results showed a presumptive measurable amount in his system.”

Ah You was one of BYU’s top recruits from its 2017 signing class, after having played prep football at Westlake and Timpview high schools. He was listed as the No. 1 football recruit in the state of Utah after the 2016 season.

It is not clear whether the dropped charges will affect Ah You’s status on the football team; He is considered one of the top defenders on the team, and was to be a probable starter in 2020 before the February arrest.