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Utah officer charged with crashing patrol car while on fentanyl

Jared Brooks Cardon, of Syracuse, faces criminal charges

Officer Jared Cardon is pictured on Aug. 8, 2009.
Officer Jared Cardon, pictured in this Aug. 8, 2009 photo, was charged Thursday with DUI, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and other charges accusing him of crashing his patrol car on the freeway while under the influence of controlled substances.
Michael Brandy, Deseret News

A Unified police officer now faces DUI and other criminal charges after possibly overdosing on painkillers while driving his marked patrol car and crashing it into a freeway barrier.

Jared Brooks Cardon, 49, of Syracuse, was charged Thursday with possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; drug possession, a class A misdemeanor; DUI and carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of a controlled substance, both class B misdemeanors.

On June 12, the Utah Highway Patrol responded to a crash on I-15 near 1500 South in Salt Lake City. A Unified police SUV hit the right side freeway barrier, then crossed over all lanes of traffic and hit the left barrier wall in the HOV lane, according to charging documents. Troopers reported finding Cardon unconscious in the driver's seat.

A Salt Lake fire paramedic administered naloxone to resuscitate him. It is used in emergencies to treat suspected opioid overdoses. Inside Cardon's vehicle, investigators found 26 oxycodone hydrochloride pills for which he did not have a prescription, the charges state.

A toxicology test later showed "Cardon's blood tested positive for fentanyl," according to the charging documents.

Cardon had his police service gun in his holster at the time of the crash.

Cardon was hired by Unified police in 2014 and resigned from the department on Aug. 13, but the department declined to provide any other comments Thursday.

Cardon has been in the news several times over the course of his career. In 2015 he was hailed as a hero for pulling a man and a cat out of a burning house in Taylorsville.

And just three months later, Cardon was hit by a vehicle that was fleeing from police and traveling an estimated 100 mph. He was hit while trying to lay down tire spikes. Police say Tyrel Elsworth Cox intentionally swerved to hit Cardon. Cox was convicted and sentenced to a tern of one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison.

In 2011, Cardon was the subject of an officer-involved shooting investigation in which he fired at an oncoming fleeing vehicle. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined the shooting was not legally justified and Cardon was charged with reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor. That criminal charge was later dropped over evidentiary concerns.