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Cops: Woman Arrested For DUI Was Celebrating End Of Previous DUI

RIVERSIDE, Ill. (STMW) -- A west suburban woman arrested for driving under the influence early Friday in Riverside -- whose blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit when tested at the police station -- told police that she had been drinking to celebrate the fact that she would be getting her driver's license back from a previous DUI arrest, police said.

About 2:10 a.m. on Friday, a Riverside Police officer observed a driver speeding while on the 3400 block of South Harlem Avenue, a release from police said. After stopping the vehicle, the officer realized that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol. After she failed multiple field sobriety tests, she was taken into custody for driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Erin James, 58, of Brookfield was arrested and charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, the release said.

At the Riverside Police Department, James provided a breath sample which showed an alcohol content of .155, almost double the legal limit of .08. A check of her driver's license showed that her license was currently suspended stemming from a 2012 DUI arrest in North Riverside. While being processed on the DUI charge, James told the officer that the reason that she was drinking was to celebrate the fact that she would be getting her license back from that DUI arrest, police said.

"James was supposed to be operating a vehicle with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) which would have prevented her from driving intoxicated," Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel said. "The fact that she was driving a vehicle not equipped with a BAIID shows that she had every intent of drinking and getting behind the wheel. Ms. James purposely drove a car that she did not own to avoid the ignition lock device and was driving back from a Forest Park bar where she was celebrating that fact that she would finally have her driving privileges back after her 2012 conviction for DUI. Ms. James is exactly the type of motorist I want kept off the road permanently under a new proposed habitual DUI law that I will be proposing in the very near future."

Weitzel's proposal will include loss of driving privileges for 10 years, confiscation of vehicle and a mandatory seven year sentence upon conviction for repeat offenders, the release said.

James was expected to appear in court for a bond hearing on Saturday.

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