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Police say DUII suspect tested at 7 times legal limit

February 14, 2018 GMT

MEDFORD — A Medford woman was arrested Tuesday morning with seven times the legal limit of alcohol in her system after crashing her car near her driveway, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Diane Marie Wilcox, 39, had a blood alcohol content of 0.55 percent at 9:37 a.m. when she was contacted by deputies, the sheriff’s office said. The legal limit in Oregon is 0.08 percent.

“It is unusual,” Sgt. Julie Denney said. “I can’t think of … a time where I’ve seen it that high.”

According to Denney, sheriff’s deputies were called to South Stage Road near South Columbus Avenue on Tuesday morning after a 2012 Mercedes Benz SUV nearly struck two pedestrians and continued to drive recklessly for miles. The caller followed the Mercedes and gave updates on her location to dispatchers, as deputies worked to track the driver down.

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Deputies caught up with Wilcox outside her home.

Witnesses said she had driven into a ditch, then backed out into the roadway and around the driveway’s entrance, and struck garbage cans on the roadside. Passers-by were then able to stop Wilcox from driving until the deputies arrived, Denney said.

Deputies determined that Wilcox was “extremely intoxicated” and had driven to a Taco Bell more than five miles from her home on Pioneer Road. She then returned home, where she was cited and released so she could receive medical treatment, Denney said. Wilcox was not injured in the crash but was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center by ambulance because of her level of intoxication, Denney said.

Under Oregon law, a driver is presumed to be impaired if their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. A blood alcohol content of 0.3 percent can cause a loss of consciousness, while anything above 0.4 percent is considered life-threatening, according to Aware Awake Alive, a nonprofit alcohol awareness and education agency.

Wilcox faces charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, driving while suspended, reckless driving and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. She also was cited for driving uninsured, failure to drive within a lane and driving with an open container of alcohol. Her vehicle was impounded .

She is expected to appear in court at a later date.

According to Jackson County Circuit Court records, Wilcox was arrested Nov. 30 on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving. She pleaded not guilty last month and was expected to appear in court Monday for a hearing but did not show up, records show. A warrant was issued for her arrest. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in that case, she had a 0.32 blood alcohol percentage at the time of her arrest and had allegedly just purchased alcohol from a grocery store. Her mother was a passenger in her vehicle, the affidavit states, and “was unaware her daughter had been drinking.”

Follow Chelsea on Twitter @ChelseaDeffenB . Email chelsea.deffenbacher@registerguard.com .