CEDAR CITY — An allegedly impaired driver was arrested early Saturday morning after Utah Highway Patrol troopers found him inside a running vehicle off the side of the roadway on Interstate 15 in Iron County.

File photo of Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 17, 2023 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Richard Laurence Peterson, 36, was booked into Iron County Jail shortly before 7:30 a.m. on suspicion of multiple charges, including a single count of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, a second-degree felony; four misdemeanor counts, including DUI, possession of drugs and paraphernalia and driving on a revoked license; and one count of failure to operate within a single lane of travel, an infraction.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Clay Allred said the incident happened at approximately 2 a.m. near mile marker 98, just south of the county line that divides Iron and Beaver counties.

Allred said UHP troopers responded to the scene after receiving a report of a vehicle that had left the road after possibly crashing.

Troopers later determined that the vehicle, identified as a gray Toyota pickup truck, had not crashed but was found facing west — off in the brush along the west side of southbound I-15. 

According to charging documents filed in 5th District Court, troopers found the operator sitting in the driver seat with the engine still running and the vehicle still in drive.

Troopers checked the license plate number of the vehicle and found that it had been reported stolen out of the Salt Lake City area.

Undated photo of Beaver Valley Hospital in Beaver, Utah. | Photo courtesy Beaver Valley Hospital, St. George News

The driver appeared to be in a disoriented state and had bloodshot eyes, the arresting trooper wrote in the affidavit. The driver, identified as Peterson, was first taken by ambulance to Beaver Valley Hospital for evaluation.

While there, troopers administered field sobriety tests to Peterson, with the results allegedly showing positive for multiple signs of impairment. Troopers also reportedly found THC gummies inside the truck.

Although Peterson told troopers he had a valid medical marijuana card issued in Colorado, he was not able to produce it, according to the probable cause statement.

Once Peterson had been medically cleared to leave the hospital in Beaver, he was transported to Iron County Jail to be booked.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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