A new DUI record set in the state of Washington


In case you missed it, a former Seattle police detective was arrested in early 2007 for driving with a state record high blood-alcohol level of 0.47 percent. (The legal limit is 0.08 percent, most people black out at 0.35 percent, and 0.40 percent is lethal for 50% of adults.) She was subsequently arrested and held on $250,000 bail (story contains other history of Ms. Jarrett). Bail was increased to $300,000 a week later, with another hearing scheduled for May for... a separate DUI case. At the May hearing, the initial attempt by the driver's attorneys to release their client to a treatment center failed, but a second attempt succeeded (second story).

And then that's it. No more news I can find. I suspect we'll never learn whether the treatment program was deemed a success.

Just as that saga appears to be winding down, a new one appears to be starting up: In neighbor state Oregon, a person with multiple drunken driving convictions was discovered with a blood alcohol level of a stunning 0.55 percent.

Comments (29)
  1. xix says:

    Makes you wonder if the test is recording inaccurate results for the blood alcohol level.  If someone utters "No, this can’t possibly be happening", maybe it isn’t, heh.

  2. Spire says:

    From the last link: "At that level, some people are so drunk they stop breathing, [Dr. Mohamud Daya] said."

    Stop breathing — isn’t that a symptom of a more serious condition? Wait, wait, it’ll come to me.

    Oh right: death.

  3. Wesha says:

    Hmmm, these names do not sound Russian to me… =^.^=

  4. Oregono says:

    Once again, Oregon kicks Washington’s butt.

  5. ddjohnson says:

    This guy from Indiana has everyone beat:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/washley1.html

  6. poochner says:

    Indeed, breath tests can give higher than correct values.  It’s not clear in this story whether or not they performed a blood test at the hospital once she was there.

  7. Feroze Daud says:

    I hope she doesnt drive again. When she was caught in Redmond, she was trying to nudge in between two cars in the left lane on 202, my wifes car being one of them. She banged the car in front and kep trying to push in, even when there was no space.

  8. A Finn from Finland says:

    This wouldn’t even make news in Finland.

    A bit of Googling with the appropriate Finnish keywords produces news stories of Finns drinking and driving with blood alcohol levels of 0.552% (male, town of Kotka, Oct 2007), 0.537% (male, Puumala, Aug 2007), 0.549% (female, Rantasalmi, Sep 2007), 0.549% (male, Rovaniemi, Sep 2007)… and so on.

    A news report about a DUI case (in Finnish) with an amazing figure of 0.67% can be found by Googling for "6,7 promillea" "turun sanomat" (direct link too long to safely post here).

    Google for "promillea" with site:poliisi.fi to find hundreds of official press releases for drinking and driving from police stations all over Finland. The press release for the case with 0.537% seems to come up first.

  9. ethermal says:

    train wreck spectacle, but where i hear these stories I want to see a picture of the person.  Anyone got a picture?  

  10. Zoid says:

    Google for Vytautas Stukas. He holds the Lithuanian record – 0.84%.

  11. Judge, Jury, and Executioner says:

    We need to kill these people before they kill us.  I am not joking.  Not to get too political, but we are off fighting a war against "terr’ism" because a group of bad guys killed a couple thousand people 6 years ago (also, see "oil").  Meanwhile, the real terrorists are out in force driving drunk on our streets every day and night, killing tens of thousands of people every year.  People need to be held accountable for their actions, and obviously the penalties for drunk driving (assuming we are lucky enough that the person actually gets caught) are not enough of a deterrent.

    Seriously, of all that bad stuff that goes on in the world, drunk driving infuriates me the most because a) it is 100% easily preventable and b) it is almost always the family of 5 in the minivan that gets killed while the lone drunk walks away from the accident.  I wouldn’t mind it so much if drunk drivers were killing each other (in fact, I would enthusiastically applaud it), but unfortunately that is rarely the case.

  12. xix says:

    Judge, etc:

    I’ve noticed that too, it seems you almost always hear that 15 schoolchildren were brutally and painfully killed by the crash, but the drunk lived to drink again.

    The solution, of course, is to have everyone drink and drive, since being drunk seems to impart some sort of protection, heh.

  13. Frank Schwab says:

    Judge and xix –

    And so what should we do about the people who, in complete and total control of their faculties, cause fatal auto accidents?

    Shouldn’t their punishment be greater than that of someone whose mental processes were dulled by alcohol, and who are almost by definition assumed to not be capable of making good decisions when they slid behind the wheel?

    /frank

  14. Homer Simpson says:

    To alcohol!  The cause of … and solution to … all life’s problems.

  15. Jon says:

    If you drink, don’t drive. Heck, don’t even putt.

  16. Judge, Jury, and Executioner says:

    Frank:

    They should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.  Their punishment should not be greater, however, as that is effectively giving drunk drivers leniency.  If a sober person kills somebody, that’s bad enough.  If a drunk person kills somebody, that’s worse because the death possibly could have been prevented if the driver had been sober.

  17. Dean Harding says:

    A sober person who kills someone could have prevented the death by not driving in the first place.

    You can’t say "killing someone under circumstances X are worse than killing someone under circumstances Y" — that’s irrational.

  18. Chris J says:

    [[tounge firmly in cheek]] We could make cars "safer" (regardless of amount of alcohol drunk) by removing all safety devices, including seatbelts, and sticking a six inch spike to the steering wheel. I’m sure that sort of reminder would slow people down, and act as a reminder that they are driving a potentically lethal weapon…

  19. Jury says:

    I don’t know if it’s irrational or not, but it’s built into our legal system.  We have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree murder and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, all of which cover different circumstances and carry different penalties.  Obviously killing somebody is killing somebody, but the manner in which it is done does have a bearing on things.  So, legally speaking, you CAN say "killing someone under circumstances X are worse than killing someone under circumstances Y".

  20. ERock says:

    The relation of BAC to impairedness is based on statistical samples whittled down to a easy-to-fit-on-a-postcard-chart. It is fallacy to assume all people fall into those neat little categories.

    There are REAL alcoholics that appear to be totally with it and yet have significant blood alcohol readings. Unfortunately it’s the only metric established for DWI/DUI and the MADD crowd wouldn’t let it get replaced with something more reasonable.

  21. Jury says:

    Dean:

    That’s weak; you could say that about any accidental death (not just vehicle wrecks).  The fact is that being drunk has a measurable negative impact on your motor skills and judgment, so you are less likely to avoid an accident (or more likely to cause one) than a sober person.

  22. acq says:

    For all of us who didn’t know what DUI is, it means:

    "Driving under the influence" (of alcohol and/or drugs)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_under_the_influence

    You’re welcome.

  23. Jury says:

    ERock:

    I agree that the BAC is not necessarily an accurate representation of how intoxicated a given person might be, but what would you suggest?  The police already give field sobriety tests like walking down a straight line, touching your nose, standing on one foot, backwards alphabet, etc.

  24. Mignon says:

    I’d check back here for pictures:

    http://amiwasted.com/

  25. ERock says:

    Part of the problem is that the field sobriety tests administered by police get discarded by overzealous lawyers. There are whole host of ways an attorney can get that evidence kicked out, from "my client was nervous" to "the pavement was uneven". Is it any wonder they have to fall back on that crude breath analyzer?

    It’s poor form to want to discard an existing test without a replacement and Jury called me on it. So, I guess, my replacement would be go back to letting the sobriety tests hold up in court, magic numbers be damned.

  26. Dean Harding says:

    The difference between 1st, 2nd and (in those jurisdictions which have it) 3rd degree murder and manslaughter is INTENT. Most people, when they get behind the wheel (drunk or not) do not INTEND to kill anybody.

  27. Miral says:

    They’re intentionally dulling their faculties and impairing their motor skills and then operating heavy machinery at high speed.  That sounds like an intent to kill someone to me.

  28. Blah says:

    So is a sober person talking with a passanger, listening to the radio, or being tired.  Driving is fairly risky business regardless.  Trying to fix the problem of others isn’t going to significantly make driving safer for you.  If that bothers you, get off the road or buy a safer car.

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