Her seventh DUI arrest could have been an especially combustible one.
Police in Riverside, Illinois, arrested a Minnesota woman the village’s police chief called “one of the worst DUI offenders in the United States” in a press release Monday night.
A 911 caller reported a woman passed out behind the wheel in a gas station parking lot on South Harlem Avenue around 9:30 p.m., but when police arrived, they found Tasha Lynn Schleicher, 41, awake and alert, with her keys in her ignition and the car’s engine running, according to the release.
She had apparently tried to fill her gas tank with kerosene instead of gasoline, which can cause a car’s engine to smoke, or even catch fire.
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According to a tweet from the Riverside Police Department, the arresting officers found a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey open in Schleicher’s front passenger seat. Schleicher, a resident of New Hope, Minn., could not tell officers why she was in Illinois, insisting that she could not find her 11 children.
According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, all of those children had at different points been taken from her care, in child custody actions spread over several states, and all related to previous drunken driving offenses, but they were all returned to her in August 2017.
According to the release, Schleicher has 11 prior arrests, six of which are for driving under the influence, but all of which are DUI-related. For her latest arrest in Riverside, Ill., for instance, the mother of 11 has been charged with two counts of felony aggravated drunken driving, two counts of misdemeanor drunken driving, driving without insurance, driving while license revoked (for DUI) and transportation of open alcohol container while driving.
Her six prior DUI arrests came out of Kentucky in 2007, Wisconsin in 2008, Indiana in June 2016, California in November 2016, Oregon in April 2017 and Minnesota in October 2017. She also had warrants out in three states at the time of her latest arrest: in Nebraska for violation of a court order, and in Idaho and Oregon for failure to appear for prior drink driving charges.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the October 2017 arrest came when she allegedly had five of her children, including her newborn baby, in the car with her, just two months after she had regained custody of all 11 of them. An off-duty police sergeant said he saw Schleicher’s car drift into the median and side-swipe the barrier for roughly 200 feet before she exited the highway, pulled over, and began breastfeeding her baby, the newspaper reported.
The five children present during that arrest were once again taken into protective custody.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel advised the Cook County States Attorney’s Office that not only would Schleicher be held in custody, but that she also “absolutely needed immediate social service intervention and professional medical attention for severe alcohol abuse,” according to the press release.