Prosecutor: DWI suspect had deadly BAC level

May 12, 2011 8:48:08 PM PDT
Right now there's a woman in the Montgomery County Jail, accused of drinking and driving, but this is no ordinary case. She's charged with having so much alcohol in her system, it would have killed most people.

According to an online blood alcohol content calculator, if you drank 10 tequilas in one hour, your BAC -- if you were still conscious -- might still not be as high as authorities say Sheila Carter's was last October. She was arrested for it last week and the officer who made the arrest said she was drinking at the time.

It was on FM 3083 in Conroe where authorities say Christie Sproba, her daughter and a friend had their brush with a drunk driver.

"It could have been much, much worse," Sproba said.

Especially considering how intoxicated investigators say Sheila Carter was when she got behind the wheel that day last October and crashed into Sproba's car.

"It's literally your worst nightmare driving down the roadway," said Warren Diepraam, an assistant district attorney with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

The legal blood-alcohol-concentration limit is .08. Court documents Carter she was .47.

"It's something that I have not seen in my career as a prosecutor," Diepraam said.

Carter's .47 is almost six times the legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Texas. It's not only rare for Diepraam, but it's also rare for doctors.

"You hardly will ever see anybody with a blood alcohol level that high," said Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's Dr. Patrick Carter, who isn't related to Sheila Carter.

That's because, Dr. Patrick Carter says, for people not used to drinking, that much alcohol can be deadly.

"You're getting to the level where you might be comatose, be unconscious, be unable to walk, unable to function," he said.

Sheila Carter, a mother, is now in jail charged with felony DWI. She's had two previous misdemeanor ones. Her husband didn't answer when we went by their Conroe home. The complaint indicates he's concerned as well even though she told medical personnel, "I don't drink very much, honey."

"It's frightening and I think it's frightening that it's taken so long to get her off the street," Sproba said.

Sproba and her daughter had minor injuries but know it could have turned out much differently.

"Drinking and driving like that is playing Russian roulette with someone else's life; you never know what's going to happen," Sproba said.

And so does Diepraam, who hopes Sheila Carter's third DWI will be her last.

The judge in the case gave carter a higher bond, which is what the prosecutor requested. It's $100,000. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison or on probation. She may also qualify for a DWI court programs.

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