Police: DUI for Woman, 26, Operating Damaged SUV at Twice Legal Blood-Alcohol Limit

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A 26-year-old woman had more than twice the legal alcohol limit in her blood and her driving privileges had been already revoked when police stopped her car downtown on Saturday night, police said.

Darien police described what happened with this account (including accusations not proven in court):

Earlier that day, police had received a report of a “blue minivan” that had been involved in a collision in the parking lot of Stop and Shop supermarket on Heights Road, so they were on the lookout for a similar car with damage.

At about 10:02 p.m., police saw a blue Toyota 4Runner sport utility vehicle that had received “substantial damage.” It was being driven on West Avenue near its intersection with the Post Road. A police officer pulled up to the SUV, which had New York state license plates, and asked the driver what happened to the vehicle. She said, “I didn’t hit anything.”

WHO online Alcohol and Young Women 03-16-17

One of two image in an online brochure from the World Health Organization. The other is below. (This illustration is meant to give the reader general information on drinking, not a comment on this particular incident.)

Police stopped the vehicle across the Post Road on Mechanic Street. (They later found that it was not the one they were looking for.)

As a police officer spoke with the driver, Karla Chanez-Fernandez, 26, of Norwalk, the officer noticed the smell of an alcohol beverage coming from her and from the vehicle. In the vehicle there were empty beer cans and wine bottles.


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She told an officer that she had one drink that night. She was asked to perform field sobriety tests and didn’t pass them, so she was charged with driving while under the influence.

At Darien Police Headquarters, a breathalyzer test indicated her blood-alcohol level was 0.1779 — more than double the 0.08 legal limit. The second test had a result of 0.1780, which was slightly higher than the first. (Blood-alcohol levels rise for a time after drinking.)

WHO graphic drinking and young women 03-16-17

She didn’t have a driver’s license, she told police, but she presented them with a Mexican passport. A police records check showed that her Connecticut driving privileges had been revoked, so she was charged with driving with a suspended license.

She was released at 10:50 a.m. Sunday on $250 cash bond and is scheduled to appear May 16 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

Motor Vehicle Collisions

The Police Department investigated seven motor vehicle collisions during the past week.  In addition to the 12-year-old girl who was bruised and scraped when a pickup truck side mirror hit her, police said, only one other incident involved a minor injury.


Police reported these other DUI arrests in March and April: