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Place of Unsafety
February 9, 2008 permalink
Driver Denise Thomson transporting a Nebraska foster child has set a record for drunk driving — she had the highest alcohol level in the career of the Sarpy County Sheriff. At her level, she was on the verge of being comatose. Maybe it took that much intoxication to dull her conscience over trafficking in stolen children.
Another child protector, Sean Virgo, was clocked at 142 mph on his motorcycle in New Jersey.
Sheriff: Blood-Alcohol Highest I've Seen
TheOmahaChannel.com, updated 12:04 p.m. ET Feb. 9, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. - Sarpy County deputies said they arrested a woman whose blood-alcohol level registered higher than five times the legal limit for drivers. Deputies arrested Denise Thomson, 25, of Elkhorn, after they received a number of calls about an impaired driver on Interstate 80 Thursday afternoon.
In a news release, Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis said his office got calls about a teal vehicle going west that appeared to have children inside. Deputies chased the vehicle at low speeds for a few minutes before pulling the driver over at mile marker 431, the release said.
Sarpy County deputies said they performed a field sobriety test on Thomson, then took her to the Sarpy County Jail, where her blood-content tested at 0.415 percent. Davis told KETV NewsWatch 7 he believes that is the highest blood-alcohol reading he's seen in his career.
Records show this is Thomson's first DUI charge.
Thomson was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, negligent child abuse, driving left of center and driving on the shoulder of the road.
An 8-year-old child in the vehicle was determined to be a ward of the Department of Health and Human Services, the news release said. The child wasn't harmed and was later turned over to her foster parents.
"Nothing wrong with the child. The child was in the back seat seatbelted in, and fortunately, nothing bad really happened," said Capt. Dan Williamson.
Thomson works for Beneficial Behavior Health in Omaha provides transporation to DHHS, the release said. Beneficial said Thomson has been suspended, and it is cooperating with DHHS.
DHHS's Todd Reckling, administrator of the Policy Section in the Division of Children and Family Services, issued a statement: "The safety of state wards is our top priority, and this type of incident is totally unacceptable. This is a serious charge and we are taking immediate action. I have informed the CEO of Beneficial Behavioral Health that we are putting them on hold status pending further investigation into issues related to transportation and safety. They will not be allowed to transport any child or adult client of DHHS pending the investigation."
Thomson posted 10 percent of a $2,000 bond and was released from the Sarpy County Jail Thursday night.
The University of Texas reported that a BAC of 0.35 percent "is similar to the physical effects of surgical anesthesia. You may stop breathing. A BAC (of) 0.40 to 0.50 percent (means) you are probably in a coma. The nerve centers controlling your heartbeat and respiration are slowing down, and it's a miracle if you survive."
Addendum: Here is a final irony from another news report:
The family of the eight-year-old girl says Thomson and the child were on their way to Lincoln to see the girl's mother who is in prison for fourth offense Drunk Driving. She's expected to be released next week after serving 10 months behind bars.