A Chicago woman was at more than twice the legal limit for alcohol when she was caught driving her car along freight train tracks in the western suburbs early Monday, then telling police she was looking for an ATM.
Maria E. Segura, 26, faces two counts of DUI and was cited for driving with a suspended license, driving in the wrong lane, and driving without insurance, according to Riverside police Chief Tom Wietzel, who called the incident "mindboggling."
Just after 4 a.m. Monday, a Riverside police officer saw a vehicle stopped at the Burlington Northern Railroad crossing in the 3300 block of Harlem Avenue with its turn signal on, a statement from police said.
When the officer passed the car, it made a sharp left turn and started to drive along the tracks westbound from Harlem Avenue, the statement said, striking both rails and loose railroad ties along the rails.
The officer called 911 to have the railroad stop any train traffic in the area, then followed and pulled over the car on the tracks.
The report said the officer “could detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the mouth” of the driver, while her ”eyes were bloodshot and she had a difficult time communicating.”
She failed a field sobriety test and later blew a .209 on a breathalyzer test, police said. Segura, 26, of the 8400 block of South Kenton Avenue, told the officer she “was attempting to drive to an ATM to retrieve money and that is why she was on the railroad tracks.”
Police also noted that her driver’s license was suspended, and confiscated her 1996 Chevy Cavalier.
“The fact that this driver was so intoxicated that she would drive directly on railroad tracks believing that she was still on a roadway is simply mindboggling and shows the extent of her excessive alcohol consumption,” Weitzel said in the statement.
“The drunk driving situation ... has just become simply out of control. ... This needs to be addressed as a social issue and not just a law enforcement concern because motorists continue to drive drunk every single day and it is at epidemic levels on weekends.”