Probation riles police chief who dubbed Minn. mom ‘one of the worst’ DUI offenders in U.S.
The suburban Chicago police chief who dubbed a Twin Cities mom “one of the worst DUI offenders in the United States” is venting his disappointment that she will get no jail time for her drunken-driving arrest in his city.
Tasha Lynn Schleicher, 41, of New Hope, pleaded guilty to drunken driving and received two years’ probation last week from Circuit Court Judge Ramon Ocasio. Police in Riverside, Ill., had spotted her passed out in her car at a gas station on April 2 with an open liquor bottle next to her after she tried to fill her idling vehicle with kerosene instead of gasoline.
Schleicher, 41, first gained notoriety when she was arrested last September in Minnesota. At that time, she had five of her children in her vehicle when she drove drunk and veered into a median barrier on Hwy. 52 near Rochester, then was found at the scene breast-feeding her baby.
In that case, she lost custody of her children and was charged in Olmsted County with child endangerment, drunken driving and failing to have a driver’s license. That case is still pending.
Schleicher’s previous scrapes with the law include drunken driving arrests in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, California, Oregon and Minnesota. Schleicher was also wanted on three out-of-state warrants in Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon, court records show.
“This is one of the worst impaired driving arrests our agency has ever made,” Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said soon after Schleicher’s arrest.
Reacting to Schleicher’s latest courtroom visit, Weitzel said in a statement, “A sentence of 24 months of probation for Ms. Schleicher is, simply put, disappointing. She’s a multiple offender who had multiple driver’s licenses, several warrants, and she continuously lied and fabricated information to throw police off when she was arrested.”
Weitzel added that when officers questioned Schleicher, she told them she had left some of her children in a nearby motel. “This sent my officers physically searching hotel and motels in neighboring communities for abandoned children,” the chief said. “This information was found to be completely fictitious.
“She was also attempting to fill her car with kerosene at the gas pump, clearly demonstrating her severe intoxication. This continues to demonstrate that as a nation that drunk driving and drugged driving are not treated as a serious criminal offenses. Society’s views need to change and habitual DUI offenders need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482