SALT LAKE CITY — A former northern Utah nurse avoided a long jail stay Thursday after a federal judge ruled she can remain free after violating pretrial release stipulations.
Elet Neilson, 52, is facing a total of 16 federal charges alleging she diverted pain medication while working at McKay-Dee and Davis hospitals in 2015 and in the process allegedly spread hepatitis C to over a dozen people.
On Nov. 9, Neilson faced new charges.
This time, she was accused of driving under in the influence before being pulled over in Layton on Nov. 7, according to charging documents.
Neilson’s DUI charge landed her in Salt Lake City’s federal courthouse Thursday, as her alleged actions were in violation of pretrial release conditions.
Neilson appeared before Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner, who told the Standard-Examiner that he ordered to not have Neilson put in jail while waiting for her trial.
According to court documents, Warner did order that Neilson refrain from using alcohol, along with ordering that she not contact her step-daughter. Documents did not supply context as to why Neilson was ordered not to be in contact with her step-daughter.
Warner ordered that Neilson be tested for alcohol twice a day using a sobrietor, a remote alcohol testing mechanism. She must also pay for the court-ordered service, according to court documents.
Neilson was cited for allegedly driving drunk after Layton Police received a complaint saying a driver of a black Hyundai Elantra was unaware they were driving on a flat tire. Officers saw the vehicle going west on Layton Parkway taking up both westbound lanes of traffic and riding the dotted white line, according to charging documents.
Police pulled over the vehicle and made contact with the driver, who police believe to be Neilson. The officer found the driver had “bloodshot glossy eyes” and “sluggish movements,” charging documents say. The officer also observed a smell of alcohol coming from the driver’s breath and took a breath test that indicated the presence of alcohol.
Officers conducted a field sobriety test, to which Neilson allegedly showed “extreme impairment,” according to the affidavit. A blood draw was taken after Neilson was arrested.
She was booked in jail on Nov. 8, and posted a $1,540 bond the same day, court records show.
Neilson’s next court appearance related to the DUI case is set for Jan. 8, 2019.
The trial dates in connection with the federal charges against Neilson are set to begin the day prior, on Jan. 7, 2019.
Neilson is also listed as a defendant in two lawsuits, with each plaintiff alleging the former nurse infected them with hepatitis C while they were in Neilson’s care.