Woman's .708 blood alcohol level may set state record

1:40 PM, Dec 31, 2009   |    comments
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USA TODAY -- South Dakota authorities say a woman found passed out in a stolen vehicle may have set a state record with a blood alcohol content of .708, or almost nine times the legal limit.

Meade County State's Attorney Jesse Sondreal says his research indicates that a level of .40 is considered lethal for about half the population, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Sondreal says the state's legal limit is .08 and that state chemists cannot recall registering a blood alcohol content above .56, WKOW-TV, of Rapid City, reports.

The authorities say troopers found the woman, 45-year-old Marguerite Engle, passed out beside along a highway on Dec. 1 in a van that had been reported stolen.

She missed her court appearance on Dec. 15, but was found Monday sitting in another stolen vehicle in a ditch beside another highway near Fort Meade after another apparent round of drinks.

Her attorney declined comment, the Associated Press reports.

Update at 12:46 p.m. ET: www.TheSmokingGun.com is all over this story with photos and documents. Visit the site to see a mugshot of Engle, and to read the official sworn affidavit by a chemist regarding her blood alcohol content. The website also posts a story of what it says is the reigning champ of blood alcohol content. That appears to go to a then 42-year-old Terri Comer who was arrested in 2007 in Klamath County in Oregon with a blood alcohol content of .720. Click here for more on that case. The documents show that Comer was found unconscious in her car by sheriff's deputies who said the vehicle was in a a snow bank and still running. They had to break a car window to free her.

USA TODAY

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