Record Setting BAC in Oregon DUI Arrest Is No Laughing Matter
By: Mike Stetzer
An Oregon woman may have set a new DUI record that no one ever should have.
Terri Comer certainly won't be receiving any awards for her recent achievement - quite possibly being the drunkest driver ever.
Comer, 42, was arrested for DUI last month after she was found unconscious in her car by an off-duty police officer. At 11:30am on December 28th, Comer's car was discovered in a snow drift, with the engine still on, ironically, just a few yards in front of a portable sign reminding drivers not to drink and drive.
Paramedics were called to the scene and they had to break one of the windows in order to get Comer out of her car. She was taken to the hospital, and a blood sample revealed that she had a blood alcohol content of .72 percent. That's not a typo. As hard as it is to believe, Comer's BAC was nine times the legal limit for driving. She was unconscious for over 12 hours and is lucky to have survived.
Alcohol affects everyone differently, but a person with a blood alcohol content of .08 is legally too drunk to drive according to every state's DUI law. At .16 percent BAC, the effects of alcohol are generally more pronounced, and a person is usually very obviously drunk and also may feel nauseated. If the nausea doesn't set in and the person continues to drink beyond this point, there may be dangerous health risks.
When a .20 percent BAC is achieved, a person could injure themselves and not feel the pain, and would generally have trouble walking. Continuing to drink at this point is really not a good idea.
A person with a .25 percent BAC is at an increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit. Beyond a .30 percent BAC, there is a very real possibility of death.
At a .35 percent BAC, a person is at the same level as a person under surgical anesthesia. And if a person reaches .40 percent BAC, they are likely to become comatose, and there is a high risk of respiratory arrest and death.
Although it is somewhat rare for a driver to be found with a BAC as high as .30 percent, Comer is a rare individual. She was arrested for DUI in 2006 with a BAC in the .30 percent range.
Unfortunately, Comer is not the only person to make headlines with an extremely high blood alcohol content. Another Oregon woman, Meagan Harper, was arrested for DUI last November. Harper's blood alcohol content was measured to be an extreme .55 percent after she was found passed out in her car outside a pizza restaurant. Harper had previously been arrested for DUI several times, but had never registered such a high BAC.
Comer now holds the record for the highest blood alcohol content of any drunk driver anywhere, ever. The old BAC record was a shocking .69 percent blood alcohol content, registered by Willard Ashley III of Indiana during his October 2003 arrest. However, Ashley was a passenger in a vehicle at the time of his arrest and was charged with public intoxication and not DUI.