- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2001

BALTIMORE (AP) A Carroll County woman's 10th drunken-driving arrest is spurring a call for more stringent laws.
Brenda Lee Sawyer, 42, of Sykesville, rear-ended a Maryland State Police car early Tuesday on the shoulder of Liberty Road in Carroll County. She was only 18 days out of jail after serving four months for her ninth drunken-driving conviction.
"That's unheard of, that she would get away with nine offenses and make this her 10th," said state Sen. Ida G. Ruben, a Montgomery County Democrat.
Mrs. Ruben was a lead sponsor of legislation that this year lowered the blood alcohol level for legal intoxication needed to convict someone of the most serious drunken-driving offense from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.
Court-ordered devices that prevent a car from being started if the driver's breath is over the legal blood alcohol content would help, Mrs. Ruben said.
Miss Sawyer was driving Tuesday with a license that had been revoked Aug. 7, said Maryland State Police Lt. Terry Katz, commander of the Westminster barracks.
Court records show Miss Sawyer has eight convictions from 1980 to 1995 in Montgomery County District Court. The sentences imposed included probation before judgment, four suspended sentences, one 60-day weekend placement in a local program, a 60-day sentence, and a nine-month sentence, with three months at a prerelease center and six months of home detention.
In a Carroll County conviction in June, Miss Sawyer was sentenced to serve six months of a maximum one-year term in the Carroll jail, recommending work release. She was released Nov. 8.
Court records show that Trooper Rebecca Bosley's cruiser had to be towed from the accident scene Tuesday. The records show it was rammed from the back by a 1988 Dodge Caravan and the driver of the Caravan then ran into nearby woods.
She came out of the woods about 20 minutes later without her shoes. She was covered in dirt, had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, poor balance and smelled of alcohol, according to the police report.
She refused to take a breath test and cried, arguing that she was only a passenger.
Miss Sawyer was ordered held for $250,000 bail at the Carroll County Detention Center on nine charges. The trooper was treated and released from Carroll County General Hospital for a neck injury.
Pat Kressig, president of the Carroll County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said she will be on hand for Miss Sawyer's 10th case when it comes up in court.
Brenda S. Barnes, the state executive director of MADD, said repeat offenders who continue to drive even when they do not have licenses are a problem.
"This just demonstrates again the pervasiveness of it," she said. "It's a difficult issue to come up with some reasonable ways to combat it."


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