She Had 3 DUIs in 6 Days – And Yes, She Could Have Been Stopped
Some drunk drivers are one-offs. Some are repeat drunk drivers. And some can only be described as determined. That description would apply to a woman in Gig Harbor, Washington, who was arrested for DUI 3 times in 6 days.
- Round 1. The first arrest happened at a gas station. The attendant noticed that Joy Reese couldn’t operate the pump properly, and turned her in. A test later showed her blood alcohol concentration to be 2.9 – more than 3 times the legal limit.
- Round 2. Two days later Reese had a slow speed crash in a grocery store parking lot, and was found to have a BAC of 2.2 when tested.
- Round 3. Two days later Reese had a slow speed crash in a grocery store parking lot, and was found to have a BAC of 2.2 when tested.No, Round 3 wasn’t an accidental repeat of Round 2 – she hand another DUI crash in the same parking lot.Repeat drunk drivers are nothing new, but determined offenders like this one need to be dealt with or they’ll eventually have a high-speed crash.
News reports about this event note that Jay Inslee, Washington’s governor, is about to sign a new law that would make a fourth DUI a felony. But even if a third – or second – DUI was a felony, that wouldn’t stop the offender in question.
Ignition interlocks For the Repeat Drunk Driver
An ignition interlock would have prevented the second and third DUIs – if it had been installed in the vehicle. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. But even though Washington mandates ignition interlocks for all DUIs, it does not have a good system of ensuring that every offender installs it immediately.
The thing to keep in mind is that license suspensions don’t work – while they might prevent law-abiding people from driving, they won’t stop a determined drunk driver. But an ignition interlock will, provided it is installed right away.
Just a few days ago we noted that another Washington resident managed to rack up 11 DUIs, all the while escaping the interlock which would have prevented the reoffenses. Once again, the absence of an ignition interlock – and a system which ensures that the interlock is installed – enabled the offender to drive drunk again and again.
The answer is a probation system that keeps tabs on obviously stubborn repeat drunk drivers – and a second DUI in two days should have marked this particular offender as a determined repeat drunk driver. Some states have had great success with sobriety courts, which place offenders under supervision and ensure that their interlocks are installed and they fulfill the other requirements of their probation.
There is technology that stands between this offense and the danger that her actions pose. All that remains is to make sure we use it.