Updated on: 3/6/2019
A Washington State Patrol trooper arrested a 46-year-old female driver Tuesday morning who was inebriated that she believed she was still driving her vehicle despite having disabled it after crashing into a guardrail in Olympia.
According to reports, a WSP trooper had just left the Thurston County Courthouse and found a disabled vehicle that had just struck a concrete barrier on the Custer Avenue overpass above I-5 just after 8 a.m. Tuesday. After speaking with the woman, the trooper was quickly able to determine that she was under the influence.
In his incident report, the trooper explained just how drunk the woman was:
"The woman still thought she was driving the vehicle, troopers said, even though it was stopped and both right side tires were flat.
Troopers performed a roadside breath test and the woman allegedly registered a blood-alcohol level of .322, four times the legal limit. The woman was arrested for DUI."
While undergoing a field sobriety test, the woman admitted she was drunk. Troopers performed a roadside breath analysis and found that she registered a .322 blood alcohol level, over four times the legal limit. It's worth noting that a BAC level of .40 is generally considered to be fatal.
WSP Reminds Drivers to Report Possible DUIs
Thankfully there were no reports of anyone being injured due to a drunk driving accident in this instance, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), approximately 300,000 people drive drunk every day in the United States and fewer than 4,000 of them are actually arrested.
WSP officials are using this as an opportunity to remind drivers of the importance of calling 911 to report possible instances of impaired driving, as drunk drivers pose a serious threat to the general public.
One common objection to reporting drunk drivers is that it’s illegal for a person to use their cell phone while they are driving. But Washington state law – per RCW 46.61.667 – states that the distracted driving laws do not apply to “a moving motor vehicle using a hand-held wireless communications device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help” or to “prevent injury to a person or property.”
Drivers shouldn’t have to worry about being ticketed for using their cell phone to report a possibly impaired driver, or prevent injury to a person or property in general. Rest assured, it is legal and it is the right thing to do.