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Concept about driving under influence of medicines and alcohol

Michigan Woman’s Sleep Driving Defense Fails

Kathleen Bailey of Rockford, Michigan, was found guilty of driving while intoxicated, despite her defense team’s use of experts who testified that she was “sleep driving.”

The Incident

On November 24, 2015, Kathleen Bailey of Rockford, Michigan, got in her car with her dog and drove from her home to a nearby Walgreen’s pharmacy drive-thru. Multiple witnesses reported seeing Bailey driving erratically. Some witnesses reported seeing Bailey blow through a stop sign at the corner of Northland and Wolverine at noon at a high speed. Additionally, multiple witnesses called 911 to describe the situation. One witness, David Burns, told a dispatcher, “She just missed four people and she’s driving all over the road here… She is not to be driving because she is going to kill somebody.”

Kent County deputies report that when they arrived on the scene to confront Bailey, she appeared to be under the influence of something. Tests showed that Bailey did not have alcohol in her system; however, the reporting deputies says that they believe that Bailey was under the influence of some substance.

The dash camera footage shows that the deputies performed numerous sobriety tests on Bailey and that she failed most of them. She was unable to recite the alphabet from “E to P.”

Bailey was placed under arrest and charged with operating while intoxicated. Kent County prosecutors decided to pursue a case against Bailey.

Bailey’s Defense

Bailey maintained her innocence. She claimed that she was “sleep-driving.” Bailey explained that she had been ill with the stomach flu for days and took the prescription sleep aid Ambien to try to fall asleep on the morning of the incident. Bailey maintained that she was following her doctor’s orders in taking the correct amount of Ambien and that she did not do anything illegal. “I didn’t do anything illegal… I had been so sick and I hadn’t had a shower in two days…. I then took an Ambien to get some sleep and the next thing I know I am being fingerprinted.”

Bailey says that she does not remember driving at all: “I literally do not know what happened.” She blames Ambien for the incident and says that she did nothing wrong. “The drug is very dangerous… Why would I have to fight for my freedom if I took a medication prescribed by my doctor… This is a medical thing, this is not a criminal thing.”

The Trial

At trial, an expert from Michigan State Police lab in Lansing testified that Bailey had an additional muscle relaxer and antidepressant in her system in addition to the Ambien.

Dr. Daniel Mayman testifed for the defense that he believed Baily was sleep-driving even though her eyes were open and she spoke to the deputies. Mayman said, “The problem is the higher functions of the brain where our judgment comes from are not working well, they’re only working a little bit.”

The jury unanimously found Bailey guilty. She will be sentenced on November 21, where she faces the possibility of a driving suspension, a fine, and jail time.