A sad case in Wisconsin reveals the alarming reality that people can be arrested and charged with drunk driving despite startlingly little evidence. In a case that a local news station spent significant resources unraveling, it appears as if a Milwaukee Sheriff’s Deputy blamed an innocent woman for drunk driving to hide the fact that he had caused a serious car accident.
The case for 25-year-old Tanya Weyker began back in February of 2013 when Weyker was driving near the Milwaukee airport. Deputy Joseph Quiles was in the area on patrol and rolled through a stop sign, crossing into Weyker’s lane of traffic and ultimately T-boning her. The accident involved enough force that Weyker’s Toyota Camry was spun off the road and into a nearby tree.
The crash left Weyker seriously injured with a fractured neck. This would all have been bad enough, but what happened next made things even worse. When other officers arrived at the scene of the accident, Quiles claimed that he had fully stopped at the stop sign and that Weyker was to blame for the crash. The officers then investigated the accident as if Weyker was the suspect, questioning her about possible impairment.
Because Weyker believed that honesty was the best policy, she admitted to having had a few sips out a friend’s wine glass earlier that evening, but explained she was in no way impaired. Officers then asked about possible drug use, and Weyker admitted that more than a week before she had taken a Vicodin after having her wisdom teeth pulled. These answers were all that officers needed to justify arresting the woman, an arrest that took place despite her inability to perform field sobriety tests or a breath test. Weyker was ultimately charged with five crimes, including drunk driving causing injury.
To the woman’s horror, she was arrested, finger printed and charged with a range of very serious crimes despite there being virtually no evidence of impairment. She had her blood drawn and tested, something that would ultimately prove to be her savior. A month or so after the crash the results came back and showed that she had no alcohol whatsoever in her system the evening of the accident. A short time after that the drug tests came back and were also negative, meaning Weyker was completely sober at the time of the crash.
Despite this seemingly solid proof, it took more than five more months before a prosecutor finally agreed to drop the ridiculous and baseless charges. In the interim, Weyker says she received threatening letters from the police department and the county demanding that she pay for the damage that resulted from the accident, an accident she had not caused.
Thankfully, the matter was eventually put to rest after internal affairs launched an investigation into the case. A security camera in the area showed that Quiles had indeed caused the accident and that the focus on Weyker from the very beginning had been wrong. Now Weyker is considering pursuing a civil rights case against the county to ensure that her mounting medical bills get paid.
Source: “Sober Woman Arrested for Drunk Driving When Deputy Crashes Into Her Car,” by, published at KTLA.com.