Second OWI in three weeks brings felony charge

August 22, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – A La Porte woman remains behind bars Tuesday after she fell asleep behind the wheel of a running car and was charged with her second drunk driving offense in three weeks, according to Michigan City Police.

Just after midnight Sunday, a Michigan City officer saw a car stopped at a stop sign that was running but not moving, and impeding traffic.

While running a check on the license plate, he received a dispatch about a woman unconscious behind the wheel of a running vehicle, according to a police report. It was the same 1994 Pontiac the officer was sitting behind.

He approached the car and saw a woman who “appeared to be passed out behind the wheel,” the report said.

He tried to put the car in park, but it went into neutral and starting rolling slowly backwards, so the officer stopped it with his hands, then went back and put the car into park. The driver did not wake up.

He saw the driver’s purse and found a driver’s license belonging to 37-year-old Marie Biddle. He yelled her name several times and she finally woke up, the report said. Her eyes were glossy and she smelled of “alcoholic beverage,” the officer said in the report.

When she got out, she “used the car for balance,” the report said. Biddle then became “more and more aggressive” when asked questions.

She refused to take field sobriety or breath tests, and when she was taken back to the police department, she started arguing, saying her license was valid. She also refused to give sufficient samples for a BAC test, and was taken to a hospital for a blood test.

At Franciscan Health Michigan City, she continued to be “abusive,” the report said. And when her BAC came back at .238 percent, she was arrested for operating while intoxicated and possessing a suspended driver’s license.

When she was taken back to the police station, it was learned that Biddle had another OWI arrest less than three weeks earlier on July 31, police said. That led to the new charge being upgraded to a Level 6 felony.

She was also issued citations for unlawful stopping at an intersection, driving while suspended, and operating while intoxicated.

Biddle was being held without bond at the La Porte County Jail, with a hearing set for Aug. 31 on the felony charge.

—From staff reports

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