Mesa County files first felony charge under new DUI law

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Mesa County Sherriff’s arrested Misti Favorite of Clifton last week, making her the county's first DUI felony case under the new DUI law. Grand Junction resident Ellie Phipps was a strong advocate for the new law and strangely enough, was also who alerted police about Misti Favorite.

"I saw how it affected me. I saw how if affected my family and I've seen worse," said Ellie Phipps

Phipps knows all too well the dangers of an individual operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this is because Phipps was the victim of a drunk driving accident in 2011.

"I got hit by and drunk driver in 2011 and I’m continuing to recover. I’m in a spinal brace about six to eight hours a day now," said Phipps.

As an advocate for stricter DUI laws, Phipps was pleased to see Colorado join most of the nation in signing a bill that created a felony charge for those receiving their fourth DUI.

"When you get multiple DUI’s you're not learning. You're not paying attention. You are a danger to society," said David Keech of the Grand Junction Police.

On Tuesday Mesa County prosecutors filed the county's first felony charge for a DUI against 36 year-old Misti Favorite. Ironically, Ellie Phipps was the one to make the call to police.

"I was surprised, to fall behind somebody, and what I witnessed compelled me to call law enforcement," said Phipps.

According to the police report, Misti Favorite was attending a Mothers Against Drunk Driving class that Phipps was a guest speaker at. Not only does this add to the irony, but Phipps feel that events like these highlight a bigger conversation that needs to be recognized.

"It opens up the conversation to what you do when you see a driver impaired," said Phipps.

Calling the police is the best course of action if you see someone impaired on the road, and if they have had more than three DUI’s the District Attorney's Office says they will be facing serious repercussions.

"The only tool I have for people like that is to lock them up as long as possible. If they are going to keep doing it, I have to lock them up," said District Attorney Pete Havtzinger.

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