Tanya Weyker of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, never even got a speeding ticket, much less a drunk driving charge. But when a Milwaukee County Sheriff's deputy slammed his cruiser into her car in February of last year, breaking her neck in four places, he arrested her for driving drunk.
The accident happened on February 20 of last year. Now Tanya Weyker is attempting not only to get her medical costs paid by the county — but to clear her name as well.
"My reputation is everything to me," the 25-year-old told Milwaukee's WITI TV News.
The deputy, Joseph Quiles, ran a stop sign and plowed into Weyker's car, sending in spinning out of control and leaving the young woman, who already has a spine fused with steel rods as the result of a childhood cancer treatment, with severe injuries.
"It was a miracle I wasn't paralyzed," she said.
She was so badly injured that she was unable to take a breathalyzer test, but even as rescuers tended to her injuries, deputies grilled her.
"One asked if I had anything to drink that night," she said. "And I told them a few sips from a friend's drink."
Tests later showed that Tanya Weyker had no alcohol in her system. But deputies also told the badly injured and terrified woman that her eyes appeared red and glassy.
"I explained to him my eyes were red and glassy because I was crying," she said. She also told them she had taken the prescription drug Vicodin — one week earlier when she's had her wisdom teeth pulled.
Nonetheless, she was arrested. The deputy who hit her at first claimed that he had come to a full stop at the stop sign. But surveillance video from the airport where he had just finished working a night shift clearly showed his car barreling into the intersection without stopping.
Quiles then admitted responsibility and was suspended for nine days.
But Tanya Weyker was arrested anyway.
"She was in traction and just sitting there. She was crying and said they accused her, they arrested her and accused her of something she didn't do," her mother said.
"If Deputy Quiles hadn't essentially blamed the accident on her they never would've drawn her blood," said Andrew Mishlove, an expert on drunk driving law. "They never would've arrested her."
Tanya Weyker has filed a complaint against Quiles to get her medical costs paid back. "I knew I was innocent this whole time," she said.