Utah teen paralyzed by drunk driver inspires DUI Law

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – One of the bills already speeding through the Utah legislative session is being called ‘Sarah’s Bill;’ it’s inspired by a tragic drunk driving accident ABC4 has been following since the summer of 2020. 

On July 30, Sarah Frei and her three friends were hit head-on by a drunk driver in Cache County. All four survived, but Sarah lost her legs and is paralyzed from the waist down. The drunk driver walked away. 

Sarah says six month later, she’s doing great, “I’m feeling good! I’ve had to re-learn almost everything but I’m really getting the hang of it by now.”

After the accident, the families learned that the drunk driver responsible for the crash was let out of jail on bail even before Sarah made it to Primary Children’s hospital. Sarah’s dad Greg Frei said, “These four kids are still in the hospital, Sarah’s being life-flighted and within hours of the accident, he’s set free.”

And Sarah’s Bill was born. Representative Steve Eliason sponsored the legislation; he says, “There are a lot of drivers who leave jail while they’re still drunk because they’ve posted bail without having to see a judge.”

HB 47 will require those drivers who hurt or kill someone while driving drunk to see a judge before they can be released on bail. 

Sarah said the legislation is important to protect people like her in the future.

“It’s been really amazing seeing the change that one person can make that represents so many other people.”

The bill passed unanimously in the House and is expected to pass the Senate this week. 

Sarah said the four friends are all doing well and they’re bonded forever because of this experience: “I’ll live with this for the rest of my life and I think people should know the consequences of drinking and driving and know how important not doing that is.”

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