A Burbank man claimed that he was driving near 87th and Ridgeland Avenue at about 7:30 p.m. on August 22nd, when he saw a black Buick that he said was speeding and swerving from lane to lane. The man called the police and reported a “reckless driver”.
The Burbank resident told the dispatcher that he was afraid the swerving driver would hurt somebody.
An Oak Lawn patrol officer was in the area and soon identified a car that matched the description and he followed the car as it made a slow turn onto 87th Place and stopped in front of a house. The officer pulled up next to the Buick and observed that a female driver was now asleep in the driver’s seat with the window rolled down and the vehicle’s engine still running.
The officer reported that he attempted to awaken the driver by knocking on the vehicle but he was unable to wake her from the sleep until he placed his hands on her shoulder and “shook her awake”.
The officer said that the driver, Maureen Knight, appeared surprised to see him standing at the open window of her car. Knight allegedly had bloodshot eyes and the officer claimed that he smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle.
The officer alleged that he asked Knight what she was doing and she said that she was traveling to her friend’s house. The officer alleged that Knight appeared to be confused and disoriented. She then allegedly said, “I’m chilling at my friend’s” and “I don’t want to drive”.
When the officer asked Knight if she knew where she was at, she allegedly responded “Oak Forest”, getting half the answer right but not scoring any points on the Oak Lawn street. The officer then told Knight that he could smell alcohol and she allegedly said, “that’s why I pulled over.” She allegedly admitted to drinking two vodka and 7-Up drinks and apologized. She later estimated that she last drank anything three or four hours earlier.
Knight was asked to exit the vehicle to perform the field sobriety tests. She allegedly stumbled while exiting the vehicle and the officer alleged she was unsteady while walking. According to the officer, Knight showed all six signs of impairment.
Knight allegedly guessed the wrong time of day telling the officer it was nine. She was asked to submit to a breathalyzer at the scene but allegedly said, “I pulled over….I don’t want to get in trouble.”
By 8 p.m. the officer had placed Knight under arrest and walked her over to the car. According to the officer, Knight had trouble maintaining her balance while sitting in the car but she was transported to the police station.
After a 20 minute observation period, Knight agreed to submit a breath sample. The police alleged that the test should a blood alcohol content of .302 The .302 is more than 3 times the legal limit of .08.
According to the National Safety Council, during the last 20 years, drivers with alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 have remained involved in one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. The National Safety Council notes that the total is about 10,000 lives lost every year.
According to Lifeloc Technologies, which sells breathalyzers, individuals with a .30 blood alcohol level or above can die from alcohol poisoning.
Knight, a 46 year old white female, with an Orland Park address, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, operating an uninsured vehicle, having a blood alcohol content over .08 while operating a vehicle, and improper parking.