Some question DWI laws after Whitesboro woman is arrested twice in two hours


WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - Brenda Christie, 60, of Whitesboro was pulled over and charged with DWI Friday night at 10:30 p.m. on Main Street in Whitesboro.

Police issued her an appearance ticket and released her on her own recognizance to her home at midnight.

Police say just thirty minutes later, at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Christie was pulled over by police again on Oriskany Boulevard, and again arrested and charged with D.W.I.

This second time, she was brought to court and arraigned and sent to the Oneida County Jail on $500 cash bail.

Some residents of Whitesboro we talked with on Monday say the fact that Christie was released so quickly the first time is concerning.

Donna Dellano of Whitesboro says she always assumed that when someone is arrested for DWI they were kept in jail until they at least sobered up to make sure they wouldn't drive again.

"I thought if somebody's drunk, and breaking the law, especially with that high of an alcohol content in their body, they have to go to the slammer, but obviously not," Dellano said.

Meanwhile, Rose Burns of Whitesboro said the same thing.

"I always thought that's what they did," Burns said. "I never heard of them letting them loose."

Burns says she is glad no one was hurt, but is worried that may not be the case next time, with the next person who is released while still intoxicated.

"I ride these roads and I don't want to be dead," Burns said. "And I have children that I don't want to be killed too."

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says the laws allow the police departments discretion when it comes someone who has never had a DWI conviction before, as well as a clean criminal record.

McNamara says in this case, as was the case with Christie, the department can either release the individual on their own recognizance, with a written promise they will show up for a later arraignment, or they can actually bring the person to court immediately for an arraignment, where a judge may set a bail, or may not set a bail and release them on the defendant on their own recognizance anyway.

Whitesboro Police have not said whether they called a friend or relative of Brenda Christie's to come pick her up, or what happened to her car after the first arrest, or whether police dropped Christie off at her home themselves, and if so, what happened to her car.

The question remains how she was allowed to get back in her own car a second time.

Donna Dellano says if someone was called to pick her up and also given her car, that person should be held responsible for allowing Christie to drive drunk a second time.

"My opinion is, whoever was in charge of taking her vehicle at the actual first incident, who ever was in charge of taking that vehicle should be held responsible for whatever happens when she takes the car the second time," said Dellano.

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