Woman charged with DUI three times in less than two months
BENNINGTON - A Pownal woman with no previous criminal record is being held without bail after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol three times in the last seven weeks.
Anne Marie Saunders, 43, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Tuesday on two misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol and two misdemeanor counts of violating her conditions of release. Although it’s the third charge filed since Oct. 1, the new charge is a misdemeanor because Saunders hasn’t yet been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Officer Lawrence Cole, of the Bennington Police Department, testified on Tuesday that he had been sent to the scene of a single-vehicle crash off of Chapel Road on Monday around 2:40 p.m.
Cole said when he reached the scene, he found a car that had run off the road and into some trees, and Saunders was behind the steering wheel. Cole testified that Saunders told him she had started drinking beer around 8 a.m., and when he asked when she stopped drinking, her one word answer was “Didn’t.”
According to Cole, Saunders wasn’t hurt and no one else was involved in the crash.
An affidavit filed in the case said that Saunders’ blood alcohol content was tested at .206 percent around 3 p.m. The legal limit in Vermont is 0.08 percent.
The first driving under the influence charge was filed after police received a 911 call on Oct. 1 around 12:20 a.m. The caller, who was not identified in the affidavit, said Saunders had been drinking and was now driving on Bradford Street in Bennington.
Police said they learned Saunders was in her home in Pownal, which is a neighboring town to Bennington, around 12:50 a.m. A Vermont State Police trooper arrived at the Pownal home less than five minutes later and said he believed she must have been under the influence of alcohol when she was driving earlier because of her inebriated state.
Saunders’ blood alcohol content on Oct. 1 around 1:30 a.m. was measured at 0.239 percent, almost three times the legal limit.
Police also cited Saunders for driving under the influence of alcohol on Oct. 30. A trooper said he was dispatched to Saunders’ home on Oct. 30 around 10 a.m. for a report of a domestic disturbance. The trooper said he spoke to Saunders at the home and believed she had recently driven there.
Saunders’ blood alcohol content on Oct. 20 around 11:20 a.m. was measured at 0.086 percent, police said.
Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke requested on Tuesday that Saunders’ right to be bail be revoked. Burke said the state didn’t want to hold Saunders in jail for an extended period of time, but believed she posed a danger to public safety and wanted to keep her off the road until she could be treated for alcohol addiction.
Judge Nancy Corsones granted the state’s request after noting that she couldn’t recall anyone in her career as a judge or a lawyer, which she said started in 1983, who had gotten three separate driving under the influence charges in less than two months.
Corsones told Saunders that she was agreeing to keep her in prison, at least until she could secure a place at a residential treatment facility, to protect her safety as well as the public.
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