A Florida grandmother was arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license and spent 15 days in jail — including Thanksgiving — before being released, the Miami Herald reported on Tuesday.
The 78-year-old woman, Gabrielle Shaink Trudeau, was initially pulled over in September for driving too slowly. She was then issued a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license. After failing to show up for a court appearance, a judge issued an arrest warrant for the criminal charge that carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Ten days after the ticket was issued, Shaink Trudeau received a letter from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, saying that her driving privileges were restored pending further review. While she believed her driving troubles were solved, the letter was actually in response to another incident.
In November, police arrested Shaink Trudeau at her home.
"They came on real strong, like I had killed somebody or something,'' she told the Miami Herald of the arrest.
Public defenders failed to appear at her initial court appearance, and no assistant public defender met with Shaink Trudeau at the Broward County Jail, the newspaper reported. On the morning of her initial appearance, the pretrial services division found that Shaink Trudeau was eligible for pretrial release on her own recognizance, but failed to alert the judge of that, the newspaper reported.
Finally, at her arraignment on Dec. 2, 15 days after her arrest, prosecutors dropped the charges against her.
"She's handcuffed like Houdini, for the record. She's got chains around her waist, and she's got handcuffs in front around her hands as if she was some kind of a violent criminal,'' the judge said at her final hearing on Dec. 2, according to the newspaper. "I want her released. I think she's suffered enough at our system's mistakes.''