Two-term Salt Lake City Council member Amy Fowler vowed Tuesday to continue to serve in her elected position and work to “rebuild trust” after her arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence last week.
In a two-minute statement during a City Council meeting, an apologetic Fowler said her arrest was an “eye-opening experience” and has made her reflect on her “relationship with alcohol.”
“I am deeply committed to working through these issues with my therapist and my God,” Fowler said. “I also want to assure you that this experience has not affected my dedication and my commitment to the work for this city. I will continue to work hard for and represent the residents of District 7 and the entire city.”
Fowler’s comments, her first public remarks on the episode, came less than a week after her May 3 DUI arrest in Utah County.
Late Tuesday, council Chair Darin Mano said in a statement during the meeting that Fowler was stepping down from her role as vice chair of the city’s Redevelopment Agency and “stepping back from some of her public duties for 30 days as a councilwoman to focus on this personal matter.”
“We believe it is important to recognize that, as humans, council members make mistakes and errors,” Mano said. “We also believe in extending compassion and grace to all individuals, including our council colleagues, at times like this. We want to be clear that, as the City Council, we consider the safety and well-being of the public our utmost priority.”
The Utah Highway Patrol says Fowler was involved in a collision in Salt Lake County but failed to pull over and exchange information with the other driver. She was taken into custody just before 11 a.m. in Springville.
No one was injured in the crash.
Fowler told a UHP trooper she was hit by another car but didn’t stop because she didn’t see the other driver stop.
“She was sitting in her vehicle with the engine running,” the trooper wrote in a report. “I could smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s face and breath. Her eyes were red and bloodshot and she was very emotional.”
According to the report, Fowler initially denied drinking alcohol and refused to submit to sobriety tests before ultimately agreeing to be tested. Her breath test, according to the report, registered 0.111. Utah’s legal limit is 0.05.
She was booked into the Utah County jail and released hours later on $680 bail. She faces one DUI count in Springville Justice Court.
Attorneys for Fowler said Friday that she would address her DUI citation “in due course.”
Fowler was reelected to a second term serving District 7, which includes Sugar House, in 2021. She runs her own law practice, Fowler Law.
It is unclear to what extent Fowler will be stepping back from her public role over the next 30 days, but her absence comes at an inopportune time for Sugar House residents. During the next month, the council will debate the upcoming fiscal year’s budget.
Mano said District 7 residents will be able to count on getting support and representation from Fowler and the rest of the council during her absence.
Judi Short, a District 5 resident who serves as vice chair of the Sugar House Community Council, said she was “disappointed” in Fowler’s decision to stay on the council.
“She needs some help,” Short said. “And she needs to take time out and get that help.”
Fowler said Tuesday she was taking responsibility and that she regrets causing any distraction from the work that is happening in the city.
“I truly apologize to my constituents, to my colleagues on this council, and to the city,” Fowler said at the meeting. “I recognize that this incident may have caused a lack of trust, and I will work hard to rebuild that trust. I believe we are a community of compassion and forgiveness.”