The average drunk driver get behind the wheel an average of 80 times before their first arrest, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It appears that an Iowa woman's luck recently ran out: she was arrested for driving drunk after her teen daughter - and her passenger - called the police. And then, just over four weeks later, she was arrested again.
On the evening of March 15 at about 8:10 p.m., a 911 dispatcher in Oxford, Iowa took a call from a frightened young woman. The teen was calling from a vehicle to report her mother for drunk driving.
On the recording of the call, the mother, 47 year-old Lori Ann Becicka, can be heard in the background, asking her daughter who she's calling. "Umm, I was talking to 911 because Dad said to call them," the girl responds. She repeatedly tells her mother to stop. The dispatcher tries to keep her calm: "You can leave the line open, hon, if you don't want to talk on the phone. If you want to act like you're hanging up, you can just leave it open and I can follow you," the dispatcher says.
Eventually, a sheriff's deputy located the vehicle. Becicka pulled into a trucking company's parking lot and immediately got out of the car, according to the official criminal complaint. The deputy noted that her eyes were watery and bloodshot, her speech was slurred, her balance was poor, and she smelled strongly of alcohol. She failed a field sobriety test, and her blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.235%, nearly 3 times the legal limit.
At the scene, Becicka's daughter told the deputy that her mother had also been consuming alcohol while driving, and several open containers were found in the vehicle. Becicka was arrested for drunk driving and endangering the welfare of child.
Then, on April 25, Becicka was arrested again. Once again, she immediately got out of the car. Once again, the officer noted bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the strong smell of alcohol. Once again, empty beer cans were found inside Becicka's vehicle. And once again, she was arrested for drunk driving.
This time, Becicka's BAC was 0.183%. She was not wearing her required glasses or contacts, and her license had been revoked because of her March 15 arrest.
In 2010, 27.3% of Missouri's fatal accidents were caused by alcohol: 218 people were killed in these accidents, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. An additional 3,823 motorists were injured in crashes caused by drunk drivers. Meanwhile, according to MADD, roughly 1/3 of drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders - who, incidentally, are 40% more likely to cause a fatal crash than drivers without drunk driving convictions.
It's never worth the risk. When you drink and drive, you jeopardize yourself, your passengers and everyone unfortunate enough to cross your path. Plan to have a designated driver, or call a cab, or just stay where you are. Doing so could save lives.