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Posted on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

Saline police awaiting charges for driver under 'super drunk' law

By Heidi Fenton

Saline Police expect charges under the state’s “super drunk” law for a 51-year-old woman whose blood-alcohol level registered at more than double the legal limit at the time of her arrest.

The driver was first spotted by an off-duty firefighter who saw her black Toyota RAV4 swerving on East Michigan Avenue around 10:30 p.m. July 5, police records show.

The firefighter called police dispatch and an officer located the vehicle near the intersection of North Ann Arbor Street and Brecon Drive. Her vehicle was observed crossing over the fog line several times and as the officer passed, she started to tailgate him from behind. Her vehicle then struck a curb near the Saline CVS Pharmacy.

The woman’s first breath test registered a blood-alcohol level of .217, records show. Michigan law defines standard drunken driving as a level of more than 0.08.

The woman was taken into custody overnight and later released pending charges from the Washtenaw County Prosecutors office. She has not yet been arraigned.

Detective Don Lupi said police are seeking charges under the super drunk law, which presents stiffer penalties for drivers with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.17. If convicted under the law, driving is forbidden for 45 days. After that point, first-time super-drunk offenders must buy an ignition interlock, which tests a driver’s breath before a vehicle starts. Possible jail time for the offense is double that for standard drunken driving.

Lupi said Saline Police have arrested about 10 people who were later charged under the "super drunk" law since it was first instituted in October 2010.

Heidi Fenton covers police courts for Reach her at or 734-623-4673. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

What is the predication for the statement , "one time drunk drivers are not the ones that kill people"? One time is all it takes for a drunk or "buzzed" driver to kill someone. If anything, the first time DUI conviction should bring much harsher penalties, then maybe the odds of the offender hurting someone later may be lower. And no one should be driving over the 0.08 limit from a "social event". If people want to get home after having a few drinks at a happy hour, party, or football game, they should take a taxi or hitch a ride with a non-drinking person. The police are doing the right thing.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

What's a "fog line"?

John B.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

It's the white line on the right-hand edge of the road.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Debra Oberlin (Credit: Alachua County Sheriff's Office) (CBS) Debra Oberlin, a former president of a defunct chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was arrested recently by the Gainesville, Fla. police - for drunk driving, according to the Gainesville Sun. Oberlin, who's 48, was arrested after she had difficulty on a field sobriety test, according to the Sun. She registered a .234 and .239 on breath alcohol tests, nearly three times Florida's legal limit So, Candi quit the group she founded because she felt they were targeting the wrong group of drunk driver's. Irony at it's best... IMO, there is only one group, drunk.. If you choose to drink and drive, you should also accept the responsibility of the consequences that arise.. No one forces you to consume alcohol and drive, you do that on your own accord. You have three viable options: 1.) don't drink 2.) walk 3.) phone family/friends/cab, all I'm sure would come help you get home. I have no pity nor remorse for those responsible for alcohol related incidents because there is no excuse for the reason.. You, yourself chose to put yourself in that predicament where as the victims involved did not.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

Candi Lightener, the founder of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) quit the group as it began to support lowering the drunk driving thresholds levels from 0.10 to 0.08. Her concern was teh super drinks with high levels, who cause almost all of the accidents. She correctly believes that law enforcement needs to concentrate on those people. I do not support any driving while drunk, but lowering the level even more is not productive in promoting safety.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

This is a STATE law and Saline is not the first to use it.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

One time drunk drivers are not the ones that kill people. It is the multiple offenders. Lowering the blood alcohol level did not address safety. Increasing penalties for high blood alcohol levels on first time offenders does not address safety. These initiatives are about keeping police funded, court systems occupied and fees flooding into the state coffers. If there was a proposal for laws that dealt with multiple offenders I'd be in support. But not this nonsense. For all those cheering this. I hope the Saline police follow you home from your next social event. They do need to keep their jobs after all and your fines and fees will ensure a roof over their head, albeit at the expense of your livelihood and reputation.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

Um, Mike, one person resigning does not constitute a "study". A study would look at first time drunk drivers and compare their crash rates and any resulting deaths with repeat drunk drivers. You claim that the first-time drunk drivers don't cause fatalities. OK, so where's the study that says that? And clearly, whoever came up with Mike's Hard Lemonade would have better things to do with their time than write comments at Ann I'd also expect them to have some data to back up a claim that first-time drunks never cause fatal crashes.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

@lynel - You are using black and white thinking when probabilities are more useful @john B - If other places in the world are preferable to you, they are available destinations to you. I prefer to stay here and preserve our unique culture @KJMClark - You are using what is referred to as ad hom argument. I have no connection to the alcohol industry. As for data supporting my argument you have no further to go than sally's comment below mine. There you will find that the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving resigned from the organization for precisely the reasons I outlined in my prior post.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

Mike - as in Mike's Hard Lemonade? That all sounds like a alcohol company shill talking. You don't happen to have any studies that back up a single word you said there, do you? Drunk drivers? I vote for taking away their licenses for a year and impounding their car until they get their license back.

John B.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

The above response is directed @ Mike....

John B.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

You're kidding, right? In many other places in the world, if you get caught once driving drunk, you can't drive for a year. Second offense causes a lifetime ban. Here, you get a slap on the wrist. It's a joke, much the same way as the non-penalties for killing other people with a motor vehicle are a joke.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

A one-time drunk driver can kill someone as easily as a 2 or 3 time drunk driver.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

I am glad the police officer passed her and he was "tailgated from behind". I can't imagine what would have happened if he was tailgated from the front.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

How about a photo of the woman when she is arrested?

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

When your blood-alcohol level looks more like a batting average, you're drunk.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

better stay off my rheumatiz' medicine fer awhile.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

No one should have any reason to be behind the wheel with that much alcohol in their system. However, given the circumstances, even 1 beer may put you over the minimum threshold. Too bad that a beath tester is not included with every car to ensure no one who is over the limit can drive.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

YES, stiffer penalties! Great plan Saline Police, and doing an excellent job. We don't need these drunks on the roads.