A Pierce County woman apparently tied a record for the amount of alcohol in her blood when the Washington State Patrol toxicology lab measured a blood-alcohol content of 0.50 two hours after she was arrested for investigation of drunken driving.
Ann Marie Gordon, manager of the lab in Seattle, said the reading -- more than six times the legal limit of 0.08 -- tied the highest level ever found by technicians at the patrol's lab. A King County driver also registered 0.50 on a blood test in 2000, Gordon said.
"It certainly would kill many people," she said.
The average blood-alcohol content of drunken drivers stopped in Washington is about 0.15, Gordon added.
Rebecca G. Lingbloom, 45, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one count of driving under the influence of alcohol on May 10. Authorities contended in an affidavit that she nearly hit a pedestrian that day and was seen swerving all over the road.
A Pierce County sheriff's deputy later found her passed out behind the wheel of her car in the Summit area, the affidavit states.
Deputy Prosecutor Bradley Moericke pointed out that Lingbloom was arrested for investigation of drunken driving twice in the 1990s, and asked District Court Judge Frank Dacca to jail her in lieu of $20,000 bail. Moericke also asked that Lingbloom be monitored with an electronic bracelet that would record her movements should she make bail.
Dacca declined both requests after Lingbloom told him she enrolled in a six-month treatment program for alcohol abuse not long after her arrest. Public defender Clarence Henderson told the judge he called the clinic before Wednesday's hearing and confirmed that Lingbloom was enrolled.
Dacca said he didn't want to jeopardize Lingbloom's treatment by sending her to jail. He did require that she continue her program and report to court July 24 for another hearing.