Utah County Attorney David Leavitt held a press conference Wednesday, March 11, to explain his decision not to prosecute BYU football player Chaz Ah You on five criminal counts, including a DUI, resulting from a police encounter on Feb. 9.
“Whether you are a brick layer from Salem, Utah, or a football player from BYU, you get the same treatment,” Leavitt said, referring to speculation that the charges were being dropped because of Ah You’s status as an athlete.
The press conference was scheduled due to public interest surrounding the case. Leavitt said Utahns are forming all sorts of conclusions and opinions, so he wanted to answer questions specific to his decision not to prosecute Ah You. He said there was no evidence to support the crimes that Ah You was stopped and arrested for.
The list of charges included drinking in or about a vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, improper lane changes in an occupied lane, reckless driving and speeding, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
“Police on the street that are doing their very best to ensure our safety, they arrest or cite an individual, they fill out a report, they send it to our office. I acknowledge that he was arrested for all of those things. There wasn’t any evidence to prove those things,” Leavitt said.
Though Ah You had his vehicle searched by police, Leavitt said the evidence cannot be used against him because he was pulled over for reckless driving, which is only a citable offense, but not one that he should have been arrested for. Leavitt said by law, a vehicle search can only take place when a driver is pulled over for an offense they can be arrested for.
Leavitt said evidence for the related charges came after police searched Ah You’s vehicle, and as a result that evidence can’t be used to prosecute him. He also said there was no evidence that Ah You was driving recklessly.
“Once someone is stopped and detained by law enforcement, if we have no basis to search (the vehicle), a rule of the game is that you don’t get to use the evidence that occurs. You don’t get a touchdown on penalty, it comes back,” Leavitt said.
The Feb. 9 police report stated that the officer sped up to 75 mph to catch up with Ah You, but Leavitt said no one knows how far behind Ah You the officer was — it was anywhere from a 10th of a mile to 2.5 miles. He said that if Ah You was driving the speed limit and the officer was trying to catch up, the officer may have hit 75 mph to catch up, but that doesn’t mean Ah You was going 75 mph.
Leavitt was asked multiple times about the existence of dash cam evidence, and at first he said he was not aware of any. Later, he said the case was initially screened by his screeners, and they came to him to review every piece of evidence. He said he assumed that if there was a dash cam involved, he would have seen that evidence by now.
The police report from Feb. 9 stated that Ah You struggled to count to 30 during his sobriety test, so the officer offered him a second opportunity but the results remained unchanged. Leavitt said it took Ah You 40 seconds to count to 30.
Leavitt said he also has trouble counting to 30 sometimes.
Leavitt said that if, hypothetically, there was THC in Ah You’s system, the evidence is not something that would ever come up in court because of how the arrest was made.
When asked about the last time his office followed through on prosecuting any BYU football player for any criminal charge, he said he didn’t know. He said he would not treat any public figure differently than a regular person.
Leavitt concluded by saying he doesn’t know what happened to the blood and urine samples that were taken by the forensic team because the results of those tests are not something that he could use in court.