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5/15/2007
California: Cops Arrest Sober, Disabled Woman for DUI
Police in Visalia, California arrest a woman for driving with Parkinson's disease.

Mercedes SUV
Police in Visalia, California arrested a woman suffering from Parkinson's disease for driving under the influence (DUI) -- even though she had not been drinking. Arleen Avila, 46, had been waiting in line at the In-N-Out Burgers drive-through when she fell asleep in her 2002 Mercedes. Although another driver got out to wake her, a police officer arriving on the scene ordered Avila to get out of the car.

"The officer told me to get out of the car, but I couldn't," Avila told the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper. "I spend most of my time in a motorized wheelchair, and it's hard and painful for me to get out."

The police yanked Avila out of the car, put her in handcuffs and took her to a hospital to obtain medical clearance so that she could be booked on charges of DUI. Police refused her requests for a wheelchair, kept her hands cuffed behind her back and impounded her SUV.

"They were asking me all kinds of questions and trying to get me to admit I had been drinking," Avila told the Times-Delta. "I was not drinking. I don't drink. They never gave me a breath test or anything."

After being released by police, Avila went to Tulare District Hospital for treatment of contusions she received from the police treatment. She is considering taking legal action against the city.


Source: Ailing woman challenges officers (Visalia Times-Delta (CA), 5/15/2007)



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