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Murray mayor gets speeding case dismissed, won't back down

Published September 4, 2013 9:45 pm

Courts • Dan Snarr will argue in justice court that his case shouldn't be refiled.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

More than seven months after Murray Mayor Dan Snarr was issued a traffic citation for allegedly speeding through a Salt Lake City school zone, the case was dismissed Wednesday.

But Snarr, who was scheduled to appear Thursday for a trial before a Salt Lake City justice court judge, said he's still not satisfied.

The charges against him — a class C misdemeanor driving too fast for existing conditions and an infraction speeding school zone for allegedly going 32 mph in a 20 mph zone — were dismissed without prejudice. That means prosecutors can refile the case in the future.

"I don't want any of that," Snarr told The Salt Lake Tribune. "I'm not going to back down when I have the truth on my side."

Since the incident, Snarr has gathered a mound of evidence in the case including photographs, videos and statements from two crossing guards on duty and the Utah Department of Transportation, who confirmed that the flashing light meant to warn drivers to slow down in the school zone was broken.

"It says 20 miles per hour while flashing," Snarr said. "Was the light flashing? No."

Salt Lake City prosecutors have tried to offer Snarr a plea deal that would have lessened the charge to going just 2 mph over the speed limit instead of the 12 listed on the original ticket, but Snarr declined.

Prosecutors did not specify Wednesday why the case was being thrown out, Snarr said.

The saga began in February, when Snarr was driving on State Street after attending a legislative committee meeting in February. Snarr attempted to turn left onto Harvard Avenue, but discovered it was a one-way street that he could not legally enter. So, he sped up to get back into the ongoing lanes.

That's when he was pulled over.

He was driving 12 mph over the limit, according to the ticket. At most, this could land him a $150 fine.

But, "it's the principle of the thing," Snarr insisted.

By his account, police officers on scene were only issuing tickets, rather than directing traffic or alerting drivers to the broken light in the school zone. He was appalled when he was told that no one had reported the broken light, Snarr said.

"Nobody from Salt Lake City called UDOT and told them the light was broken; they're down there just citing people," Snarr said. "The more I got into this and found out what was going on, the more agitated I got. Do they care about the safety of the kids? Or do they just care about issuing tickets?"

Snarr will appear before justice court Judge LG Cutler at 9 a.m. Thursday to argue for his case to be dismissed with prejudice, which means the charges can never again be refiled.

mlang@sltrib.com Twitter: @marissa_jae