Nichole Santos celebrated her 21st birthday just six months ago. Taking her new drinking privilege to new extremes, between then and now, she has been arrested for DUI four times.
That’s a rate of one DUI per month since February.
The most recent DUI ended with a dramatic accident. The car that Santos was driving left the road and came to rest 285 feet later. On the way there, it knocked down three light poles.
Santos was driving home from the bar at the time of the accident, and she was driving drunk.
This marked her fourth DUI in as many months, according to Clarksville police. Her first DUI arrest was on February 2, her second was on April 10 and the third was on May 21. The latest arrest came on June 27.
This was not Santos’ first trouble with DUI. In 2007, when Santos was just 18, she was convicted of her first DUI.
Citizens in Clarksville are concerned about how Santos’ has been able to repeatedly offend. “It really shows we need to tighten our laws,” said Mothers Against Drunk Driving Tennessee executive director Laura Dial. “A system that allows that to happen is flawed.”
Dial continued by saying that the Santos case highlights the need for a mandatory interlock law in Tennessee. Such laws would force repeat offenders to have ignition locking devices on their cars that test a driver’s blood-alcohol content before turning the car on.
Tennessee recently passed a version of an ignition interlock law that made them optional.
Another DUI law lets judges in DUI cases label repeat DUI offenders as “dangerous.” In these cases, the judge can set no bond, or set the bond as extraordinarily high, to keep those repeat offenders behind bars. This is not a mandatory law and is applied at the judges’ discretion.
Speaking about the current legal situation, Dial said “You get arrested for a DUI, you do a little time in jail, you get told not to drive. That doesn’t work with a DUI offender.”
In Santos’ case, she was able to make her $5,000 bond hours after she was arrested, and was back home by the next Monday.
Santos hasn’t been convicted in any of her DUI arrests, as she awaits hearings in each one.