Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies found 31-year-old Tatum Vaneizenga passed out this week in a 2001 Subaru Forester in the middle of the roadway, right on a freeway ramp. Her two children were strapped in car seats in the backseat. Vaneizenga and her children were discovered after several drivers called 911 to report a possible drunk driver on a freeway in Livingston County, Michigan.
The South Haven woman had parked her car on the freeway ramp of eastbound I-96 in Livingston County near Howell. The ramp let out towards another busy roadway, M-59 in Howell Township. according to Mlive. It also allows access to a primarily residential area to the south.
“Deputies went and purchased diapers and formula for the children out of their own pocket,” Lynch explained. Vaneizenga were taken into protective custody.
After being roused, Tatum Vaneizenga refused to submit to a field sobriety test, but she appeared to be severely intoxicated, reports indicate. Tatum was subsequently arrested. At the Livingston County Jail, Vaneizenga underwent a breathalyzer test and blew a.355, according to Lt. Lynch. It is illegal in Michigan to drive with a BAC of.08 or higher, but drivers with a BAC of.17 can be charged with a stiffer offense under what’s commonly referred to as Michigan’s “super drunk law.”
‘Super drunk’ mom driving from South Haven to Pinckney was found passed out on a freeway ramp with 2 kids in car: https://t.co/ZgYND61TVc
— Kalamazoo Gazette (@Kzoo_Gazette) December 17, 2015
Vaneizenga said she was driving from South Haven to Pinckney. She wasn’t far from her destination by the time she allegedly passed out in her car on the freeway ramp, but the drive into Pinckney likely would have taken her down the area’s most frequented roads during the middle of the day.
Michigan’s “super drunk law” is aimed at ensuring stiffer penalties for more seriously intoxicated drivers, but is reportedly not always the option prosecutors use. According to WHMI, Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt says they opted against charging her under that law because it only carries a maximum of 180 days. Given that she was allegedly intoxicated with a minor in the car, Tatum Vaneizenga was charged with operating while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16. It is reportedly a misdemeanor but is punishable by up to one year in jail. Additionally, she was charged with Open Intoxicants, a 90 day misdemeanor. Tatum Vaneizenga is due back in court on January 4 for a pretrial hearing.