Woman Sentenced to Serve 30 Days in Jail for Driving Under the Influence
On August 10, 2016, in the Alexandria General District Court, Tara Cook, age 30, of Denton, Maryland, was found guilty after a bench trial and was sentenced on one count of Driving Under the Influence-Misdemeanor. The offense was aggravated by the fact that the driving led to a collision with another vehicle in which a 7-year old child was riding.
On May 16, 2016, at about 4:30 in the afternoon, Cook drove her vehicle to the intersection of Duke and South Pitt Street. There she collided with a vehicle driven by the victim, age 43. The victim’s son, age 7, was seated in the front passenger seat. The force of the impact resulted in the victim's vehicle coming to rest on top of Cook’s. The victim suffered injuries to her legs and back. The child received a cut to the head.
Cook spoke to law enforcement and the odor of alcohol was detected on her person. She admitted to having a couple of drinks while at an Old Town restaurant for a business meeting. She submitted to field sobriety tests and showed signs of intoxication. Cook was placed under arrest and submitted to a breath test. The result of the test showed her blood alcohol content was .16 grams per 210 liters of breath, double the legal limit in Virginia.
Cook was sentenced to a total of 365 days in jail with 335 days of that sentence suspended. The defendant was also fined five hundred dollars and her license was suspended for 12 months. The court further ordered the defendant would not be eligible for a restricted license for 6 months. Following her release from jail, Cook will have to complete the Alcohol Safety Awareness Program.
The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick O’Brien.
With regard to the sentencing, Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter said, “The sentence imposed today sends a strong message that drunk driving - particularly drunk driving that results in a collision - will not be tolerated in the City of Alexandria. Aggravating factors justifying the active jail sentence in this case include the defendant's elevated blood alcohol content, the fact that the defendant's driving led to an accident, and the presence of a child in the victim vehicle. To put it plainly: drunk driving is a clear and present threat to the public, in that it often results in harm to innocent citizens."
"I thank the Alexandria Police Department for their thorough investigation of this matter. The Alexandria Police have demonstrated once again their commitment to the deterrence of drunk driving."