A decision to sentence one of Minnesota's, and America's, worst drunk-driving offenders to probation has not sat well with a police chief.
Tasha Lynn Schleicher, 41, of New Hope, was in Riverside, Illinois this past April when police found her passed out behind the wheel at a gas station with an open bottle of liquor on the passenger seat.
She was described by Riverside Police at the time as "one of the worst DUI offenders this agency has ever arrested," as she had several warrants out for drunk driving in three states, and previous convictions in six states including Minnesota.
But this past week, despite being indicted on several felony DUI charges, Schleicher pleaded guilty to only one of them as part of a plea deal that saw her sentenced to 2 years probation.
Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel is less than impressed, calling it "ridiculous" in a radio interview and in a statement to BMTN, said her bad behavior goes beyond drinking and driving given that she claimed she had left her children at a nearby motel (which she hadn't).
"A sentence of 24 months of probation for Ms. Schleicher is, simply put, disappointing," he said. "She's a multiple offender who had multiple driver's licenses, several warrants, and she continuously lied and fabricated information to throw police off when she was arrested.
"Remember, when she was arrested she stated that she had children with her and she had left them in a motel in the Riverside area.
"This sent my officers physically searching hotel and motels in neighboring communities for abandoned children; this information was found to be completely fictitious. She was also attempting to fill her car with kerosene at the gas pump, clearly demonstrating her severe intoxication."
Her sentencing, he says, demonstrates that drink and drug driving in America "are not treated as a serious criminal offense."
"Society’s views need to change and habitual DUI offenders need to be held accountable for their actions."
Schleicher is a mother of 11 children, most of whom have been taken out of her custody owing to her repeated drunk-driving offenses.
She hit the headlines last year when she crashed on Hwy. 52 in Minnesota with five of her kids in the car.
She spoke to the Rochester Post Bulletin last year in this article, which is worth a read, called "How did Tasha's life come to this?"