Police in Farmington claim that a woman who has an ignition interlock device installed in her car found a way to foil the system. The woman was arrested last week in Dakota County on suspicion of driving while impaired. A deputy had pulled the 34-year-old woman over last Tuesday. During the traffic stop, the deputy claims that the smell of alcohol was emanating from the woman’s car. The deputy reportedly saw the ignition interlock device in the vehicle and asked the woman to start her car.
Dakota County officials allege that the car did not start. Law enforcement says that the woman then tried to flee the scene. The deputy apparently used a Taser to subdue the woman. She was eventually arrested on DWI charges. A channel 4 news report suggests that the arrest is the fourth DWI arrest for the woman, although the story does not indicate the timeline of the prior allegations.
State officials say that roughly 3,000 people in Minnesota are using ignition interlocks related to DWI cases in the state. That amounts to roughly 20 percent of all DWI offenders in Minnesota. This blog has previously discussed the use of ignition interlock devices under Minneosta law. Last summer, Minnesota law was changed to authorize the use of ignition interlocks in DWI cases, especially those involving alcohol concentrations of 0.16 percent or greater, and in cases involving repeat offenders.
The recent Farmington case remains under investigation. Authorities say that they still do not know for sure how the woman was able to start her car with the interlock in place. The company that installed the device believes that someone else blew into the device before she started the car, or the woman started drinking after she started the car at a time when she was sober.
The interlock device acts as a portable Breathalyzer and is attached to the ignition system. Officials say that when someone blows into the Breathalyzer, a photograph is taken and forwarded to Driver and Vehicle Services. Authorities say that if someone else blows into the device to start the car, that person can face misdemeanor charges.
Source: CBS 4 News, “Farmington Woman Foils Anti-Drunk Driving Device,” John Lauritsen, June 18, 2012