The Fruita Police Department released a new report, reviewing how two of its officers behaved when they pulled over 18-year-old Samantha Loy just minutes before she was killed in an alcohol related crash. According to the coroner's report Loy had a BAC of more than twice the legal limit.
The review, which was conducted by the Fruita Police Department, says after going over the reports of the traffic stop, interviewing the officers, and looking at additional information provided by Loy's family, it finds Officer Nick Peck and Officer Josh Dove did nothing wrong that night and they did not violate any policies or procedures.
According to the report, in the early hours of February 8, 2009, Officer Peck was on patrol looking for DUI drivers. Around 1:00am he saw Samantha Loy's car driving what he believed to be faster than the speed limit on Highway 6 & 50. But because he was not equipped with a radar gun to confirm that speed, he began following her. He pulled her over shortly thereafter, saying she failed to use her turn signal twice.
In a follow-up interview with the police department, Officer Peck said although she seemed slightly confused, Loy appeared relaxed and comfortable talking with him. He says "I did not observe any indicators of alcohol or drug impairment from Loy." He also told police he was suffering from a head cold that night and could not breathe well through his nose.
A few minutes after the stop was made, Officer Josh Dove pulled up to the area. The report says while Officer Peck returned Loy's paperwork, Officer Dove looked through the window of the car, keeping an eye out for things like cans, bottles, and pipes. He noted the car was tidy and that he did not see any indicators of alcohol or drugs.
Loy was let go with a verbal warning, which the report says is "acceptable" for the two turn signal violations. The report also states "Verbal warnings are an appropriate method of behavior modification."
In a follw-up interview, Officer Dove details how he made a comment to another officer after returning from the stop that Loy was "very attractive." The review states, however, that because Officer Dove was the backup officer on the stop, the department had determined his comments about Loy's appearance had "no bearing on Officer Peck's decisions."
The report also says that the department is not disputing the fact that Loy was drunk at the time of the stop, or the fact that at the crash site, State Troopers found an empty bottle that smelled like alcohol inside her car. Officials say for the officers to have legally searched the car and find the bottle, they would have had to arrest Loy -- but because they did not believe she was drunk, they could not do that.
The Fruita Police Department says Officer Peck has received extensive training when it comes to DUI's and that he made 11 DUI arrests in 2008.
Police administrative officials familiar with the report were not available for interviews Sunday, as it is the weekend.
Loy's mother recently asked the Fruita City Council to have an outside agency review the officers' stop. She could not be reached for comment Sunday.