An Oregon woman found herself behind bars after her son dialed 911 from inside her car and reported her for drunk driving.
According to police, the incident unfolded Saturday, August 26, when 30-year-old Nicole Norris and her 11-year-old son were at a minor-league baseball game between the Hillsboro Hops and Tri-City Devils. After several drinks, Norris allegedly got behind the wheel of her car — her son in the backseat — and headed on the 43-minute journey back to Portland.
During the drive, her son called 911 and told a dispatcher his “mom was drunk driving,” and he wanted help. Police say the call came in near the town of Beaverton, Oregon, and responding officers located Norris near her home about eight miles away and pulled her over. According to reports, Norris was aware that her son made a call and told him to “put the phone down.” The dispatcher lost communication with the boy at that point.
Police say Norris stepped out of the vehicle and agreed to field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed. One of the tests involved walking a straight line while counting aloud. A breathalyzer revealed that Norris’s blood alcohol content was almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Norris was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII).
Deputy Gilderson conducts DUII investigation after 11 year old boy calls 9-1-1 from car to report mom is driving drunk. pic.twitter.com/ihhE43xN87— WC Sheriff's Office (@WCSheriff) August 27, 2017
While reports to police by children can be unfounded because of their age and misunderstanding of the law, police say this incident was a matter of serious public safety. It wasn’t just Norris’ son who was concerned. Two other motorists called 911 and said she was driving erratically.
“I guess at some point in his 11-year-old brain he thought that was too much,” Washington County Deputy Shannon Wilde told media. “Obviously her driving was bad enough that her child noticed it.”
In Oregon, drivers face a 90-day license suspension for having a blood alcohol (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher. Refusal of a breathalyzer test can result in a one-year suspension.
Even for first offenses, fines for DUII be $5,000 or more. First offenders, however, are eligible for the state’s DUII Diversion Program, a tiered delayed-sentencing program that results in a dismissal of charges after a year. To successfully qualify, a driver must not have a drunk driving conviction within the last 15 years, including those in other states. Drivers must also agree to plead guilty or no contest, complete alcohol counseling, refrain from drinking, and install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles to drive while they are in the program. Drivers are responsible for all costs associated with the diversion program, including the purchase of their IID and counseling sessions.
Norris has posted bond and is awaiting court appearances.
[Featured Image by Washington County Sheriff’s Department]