Police arrested a Mashantucket woman accused of disabling an ignition interlock device, then crashing head-on into another car while driving intoxicated with two children in her car, police said.
Elizabeth Whipple, 29, crossed the center line on Center Groton Road, or Route 117, in Ledyard in her 2012 Honda and struck an oncoming Kia that Deb Hobert, of Ledyard, was driving, police said. Hobert’s husband John was also in the car. The crash happened at 10:34 p.m. on Tuesday.
“God gives you your children and they’re your responsibility and at a minimum you shouldn’t be drinking and driving with your children because you’re their person that they trust and love and you need to take care of them,” said Deb Hobert, still shaken up by the accident.
Whipple's vehicle had an ignition interlock device installed, but she somehow avoided using it before driving intoxicated, police said.
“A person has one installed as a result of a past behavior of intoxicated driving. When it’s installed, before that person is able to start their vehicle they’re supposed to blow into that device,” said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.
Whipple was convicted of driving under the influence in 2012, according to online court records.
Whipple was found guilty after a July 10, 2011 drunken driving incident in Stonington, according to the state judicial website.
She was also convicted the same year in a state police case for an incident days before in 2011 involving driving with a suspended license and evading responsibility, according to the judicial website.
Ledyard police, firefighters and volunteer emergency squad responded to the crash on Tuesday, as well as the Gales Ferry Fire Department and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital paramedics.
Police charged Whipple with operating under the influence of alcohol, tampering with an ignition interlock device and risk of injury to a minor. She was also cited for failure to drive right.
“The end result could have been an innocent person being injured or, equally as bad, this intoxicated operator and/or her passengers being injured,” said Vance.
There was no answer at Whipple’s home when we stopped by.
Police released her on a $10,000 bond and she is scheduled to appear in court on July 10.