Amy Fowler to resign from SLC Council in wake of DUI arrest

On the day of her arrest in Utah County after a crash in Salt Lake County, she was supposed to be in Sanpete County representing an inmate in a criminal assault case.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Amy Fowler takes the oath of office as a Salt Lake City Council member on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. She announced Tuesday that she intends to resign from the council.

Salt Lake City Council member Amy Fowler said Tuesday that she will resign her elected position after her arrest earlier this month on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Fowler said in a statement that she would delay her departure until July 3 in order to fully represent District 7, which includes the east side’s Sugar House area, during the rest of the budget process. The council is due to finalize the fiscal 2024 budget next month.

“Thank you to the residents of District 7 for twice electing me to serve,” Fowler said. “It has been an honor.”

The council will pick a replacement for Fowler within 30 days of her resignation date. District 7 then will hold an election in November to decide who will serve the final two years of her term.

Fowler was elected to her second term in 2021.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall weighed in on Fowler’s pending departure Tuesday afternoon.

“I trust council member Fowler’s decision to resign,” the mayor said, “was made after careful thought and consideration to the needs of Salt Lake City and her district, and her own well-being.”

Council members, meanwhile, released a group statement late Tuesday expressing support for Fowler’s choice.

“We know this was a difficult decision and we trust it was made with the best interests of District 7 constituents and her personal well-being at heart,” the council said. “We thank Amy for her years of dedicated service to our city and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Judi Short, vice chair of the Sugar House Community Council, said Fowler’s decision to step down was the right move.

“People feel like they’re without representation,” she said. “She needs to do this for her own health. Take care of that first.”

On May 3, the Utah Highway Patrol arrested Fowler on suspicion of DUI in Springville. The law enforcement agency said she was involved in a crash in Murray and did not stop to exchange information with the other driver.

UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden said the collision occurred about 9:05 a.m. on Interstate 15 near 4800 South in Murray. Roden has said troopers reached Fowler on the phone after the crash. She then stopped and waited for law enforcement before being taken into custody on an I-15 offramp in Springville, about 40 miles from the site of the collision.

“She stated another vehicle struck her vehicle in Salt Lake [County] but she did not stop because she did not think they stopped,” a trooper wrote in a report. “She had diminished fine motor skills. She could not use her fingertips to hand me documents, she used her whole hand to retrieve papers and hand them over.”

After initially denying consuming alcohol and refusing to submit to sobriety tests, Fowler agreed to be tested, according to a police report. A breath test registered a reading of 0.111. Utah’s legal limit is 0.05.

Fowler, a criminal defense attorney, was arrested at 10:54 a.m., six minutes before she was scheduled to appear in 6th District Court in Manti to represent a Utah Department of Corrections inmate in an assault case.

Judge Mandy Larsen pushed back the hearing due to a “conflict in attorney schedule.”

“Ms. Fowler,” court records say, “did not appear for court.”

Fowler’s announced resignation Tuesday came hours after The Salt Lake Tribune asked her to comment on missing that court hearing. Records show she is scheduled to represent the inmate in a virtual hearing Wednesday.

On May 9 — nearly a week after her arrest — Fowler publicly said she intended to stay on the council, calling her arrest an “eye-opening” experience that made her reflect on her relationship with alcohol.

“I recognize that this incident may have caused a lack of trust, and I will work hard to rebuild that trust,” she said in a public meeting. “I believe we are a community of compassion and forgiveness.”

Hours later, council Chair Darin Mano said in a statement during the meeting that Fowler would be stepping down from her role as vice chair of the city’s Redevelopment Agency and “stepping back” from some of her public duties as a part-time council member for 30 days.

“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.”

Fowler has a hearing scheduled in Springville Justice Court for her DUI case June 8 — the same day her 30-day leave from council duties is set to expire.