sigh….mommy d.u.i…….again

lindeOn the Main Line, it is once again Mommy DUI groundhog day. Yes, another Mommy DUI.  Karin Linde of Bala Cynwyd.  I believe Walt Hunter said in his interview on CBS3 that she is around 32.

Now I will note from jump that this mommy does not fit the socially upwardly mobile mold of the two other Main Line DUI mommies Meredith Williams-Earle and Grace  Tuten. Same area, similar age range, but this one is a  repeat DUI offender (see uploaded court docket “Linde prior.”)  This was the Olive Garden DUI mommy of 2011 that was in Patch. At that time, Bala Patch reported she blew a 0.38 blood-alcohol content, nearly five times the legal limit.

I took a major amount of guff from some when I wrote about the last Main Line Mommy DUI, but let’s fill you in on this current one before we circle back to my thoughts on this topic.

CBS 3: EXCLUSIVE: Another Main Line Mom Charged With DUI Crash With Child In The Car

December 6, 2013 3:51 PM

(Watch video HERE)

By Walt Hunter

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) – A 32-year-old mother faces drunk driving and child endangerment charges after police say she plowed into the rear of a car Thursday night in Villanova, causing a chain-reaction crash. Officers found her 5-year-old son in the backseat.

Only CBS3 cameras were there as Linde was taken to Montgomery County Prison in lieu of $7,500 bail. …According to an arrest warrant, an officer “asked Linde if she had been drinking and she stated, ‘Well,ya.’ Then, according to the warrant, when asked to submit to a field sobriety test, she responded by “stating she was ‘smashed’ and that she in no way should be operating a motor vehicle.”

One other driver in the crash was treated for injuries. Linde’s 5-year-old son was not hurt, but police say he was not restrained in a booster….

Court records show Linde pleaded guilty to drunk driving and causing a serious injury crash following a 2007 accident.

Linde is the third mother charged with driving drunk and crashing her vehicle with her child in the backseat in the past four months in Lower Merion.

When I commented before on this topic I said that I feared an epidemic of these DUI mommies was brewing.

I will ask some of the same questions I asked before:

What has gone wrong here?  How do families not know if someone is having issues? Do that many people really in this day and age routinely drive around comfortably numb? And who exactly let her get behind the wheel of a car? Who lets an intoxicated young mother get behind the wheel of a car with a child in the back seat?

This woman Karin Linde is a repeat offender.  With these new charges (see Linde 2013 ) she went to jail.  They reported that her husband has the child. Thank goodness, I guess. Except if she is a repeat offender, how is it she is allowed to drive anyone around, let alone drive herself?

I will say it again that to me this is an alarming issue.  And with now multiple incidents (different women) to hit the news a couple of months apart , I will state again that I truly see this as an issue.

But if we are honest, by varying degrees this is not a new issue. It’s just not one discussed in public as much as whispered down the lane.

Once again, I want to try to show these women compassion.  But if I am brutally honest, with this one I am having a hard time doing so.  Why? Because this woman seems to have “oops, done it again” and wow,  when do you stop? When does the being a mother gene kick in?

Alcoholism is an awful disease.  I have friends who have been “in the program” for years.  Including now not so young moms. Some have been successful working their programs, others not so much.

When I wrote my last post in November on this sad topic I didn’t just catch hell from mommy bloggers who did not like me writing about this or mentioning these women by name (even if the media and law enforcement already “outed” them by name and location), I received a lot of off-line feedback from women who had experienced issues with alcohol and/or had been a child of one or more alcoholic parents.  They thanked me for talking about it. And shared some heart wrenching stories of their own.  I won’t betray those confidences, but I applaud them for being brave and dealing with it.

Some people with alcohol issues never hit the bottom to stop, some do. They have to want it.  You have to want to get better.

Tonight, nineteen days before Christmas a young mother from the Main Line sits in jail unable to post bail.  Somewhere, someone is undoubtedly trying to help her 5-year-old make sense of all of it.  Can you imagine being that child? Accident, noise, mahem, sirens….mom being taken away in the back of a police car.

My heart aches for the children of these people.  The littlest and almost silent victims.

And no parent wants to judge another parent, but my word this is hard to wrap my head around.  I guess at the end of the day I don’t get how you put the alcohol first, child last.

Here is hoping something good happens for this latest DUI mommy. But I am sorry, this one seems like more of a train wreck, given past acts.

She could have killed quite a few people including herself and her child.

main line mommy d.u.i…..again

4955-scene1-Concours

Looks like a happy scene right?  Folks enjoying a day of great cars in a beautiful setting and being snapped for the society pages of Main Line Today Magazine.  Yes, this is the Radnor Hunt Concour D’Elegance circa 2010.

And then this news breaks:

Wynnewood woman charged in DUI crash, child and dogs were also in the car

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013   By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

mug shotLower Merion police say a woman was driving intoxicated with her 2-year-old child and two dogs when she crashed her car into a utility pole in the Bryn Mawr section of the township Friday.

As a result, the woman is facing numerous charges in connection with the case.

Grace Tuten, 32, of the 1000 block of Clover Hill Road in Wynnewood is facing charges of DUI, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangering another person, driving under a suspension, careless driving and related offenses….At police headquarters, Tuten recorded a blood alcohol level of .28, or more than three times the legal limit of .08.

Tuten’s 2-year-old son was a passenger in the car at the time of the crash, shortly after 8 p.m. He was found inside his child seat in the rear of the vehicle. The child was taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital for a precautionary evaluation. Two dogs were also found in the rear cargo area of the car.

The media reports indicate she crashed into a utility pole around Williamson Road and Morris Avenue in Bryn Mawr and kept driving even after that, hitting a mailbox and stuff in addition.  CBS 3 reports she was driving on a suspended licenseGrace Tuten appears to be pending her preliminary hearing as per the court dockets.

This accident which could have killed her, her small child, and two dogs occurred I would guesstimate less than a mile from the August DUI of Meredith Williams Earle that killed a florist delivery man in Bryn Mawr.  Meredith Williams-Earle goes to county court it looks like in early 2014. Williams-Earle’s attorney was in the newspaper in September saying his client should get her license back.

Here we have another sad state of affairs and the commonality is kind of eerie.  Both Main Line born and bred women and products of fine private schools and good colleges. Both married. Both have small children. Tuten is 32 and Williams-Earle is 30.

What has gone wrong here?  How do families not know if someone is having issues? Do that many people really in this day and age routinely drive around comfortably numb?  Where was Tuten coming from? It was 8 p.m. on a Friday so where was she coming from or going to and where was her husband? And who exactly let her get behind the wheel of a car?  With a blood alcohol level of 0.28 was she visibly intoxicated?  Who lets a young mother get into a car with her child and two dogs?

To me this is an alarming issue.  And with two to hit the news a couple months apart , I truly see this as an issue. But if we are honest, by varying degrees this is not a new issue. It’s just not one discussed in public as much as whispered down the lane.

These women like Grace Tuten need help and they need our compassion. I said that when I wrote the post titled “deadly decision”. I see another young mom in crisis here.

Who is listening to these women?  I wonder if these women had postpartum or other depression?  Or are they simply experiencing pressures of being a modern Main Line mommy?

Since I have moved to Chester County I have even encountered some similar mommies, closer to my own age.  One woman  in the Giant a few weeks ago literally reeked of alcohol when she passed me with her cart.  A friend said I should have called the police, but where was my proof?  I did not see her drink. We live in such a litigious society that can it be considered a real Catch 22.

Alcoholism is an awful disease.  I have friends who have been “in the program” for years.  Including now not so young moms. Some have been successful working their programs, others not so much.

I have no idea what was going on with this woman Grace Tuten but I do believe the pressures they experience as young moms and wives in an affluent area are very real.  And as a little girl, I remember the moms who were my mother’s generation who tippled.  One in the mid 1970s called her popping pills with a cocktail chaser a “mommy’s pick-me-up”.

Grace Tuten lives in Wynnewood but was in the Bryn Mawr close to Gladwyne area with her child and her dogs, so she was somewhere she knew people really well perhaps? Or at a local restaurant?

I don’t know the motive, don’t know the woman but I feel for her because as a friend of mine said today who is a mom who had postpartum that  she believes mothers just don’t intentionally put their kids in harm’s way. So I am going to stick with that.

The path to parenthood is not necessarily an easy one.  I know many women who didn’t make easy transitions from working girl to SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) or did the whole motherhood and career thing easily.

I can tell you as a stepmother in training to an awesome now teenager, I have not had it all come easily.  The love is there, but here I am in my late 40s becoming a parent for the first time.  It is hard work to be a parent. And while I have enjoyed my transition from a woman who worked her whole life to being in essence a mostly stay at home parent, it is not as easy as it sounds.  It sounds lovely, it is lovely, but it is a major life transition.  And wow can you feel guilty for keeping house which is a job in and of itself.

But with age comes life experience, so in some ways, I think it has been easier for me than some of the younger mothers.  With these younger women, they are not so many years removed from their single and young married party days.  Most of their Facebook pages tell that tale rather readily. So here they are in a fairy tale life to some that on the inside for whatever reason might not be such a fine fairy tale.  So do they drink socially and then it becomes drinking to take the edge off of the reality of life? Or do they just do the mommy pick me up to take the edge off and it gets out of hand?

I don’t really know.  All I know is this is yet another case of a well-educated, well-bred young woman ending up with a DUI with her child in the car.  I am hoping this is a topic that mom bloggers in the area will take up.  Why? Because I think there needs to be a conversation.

The pressure to be the perfect woman is a very real thing. And the sooner we, as women can learn to stop beating ourselves up for not being paragons of perfection, the better. And yes that is a lesson I also have to learn and accept. (Some days are just better than others and self-perception is a tricky and cheeky devil.)

I wish life and fixing life issues was as simple as Cher’s infamous line in “Moonstruck” – you know – “Snap out of it!” – but it’s not.  It takes work. Relationships take work, families take work.  Yes there is love and all the good stuff, but you get the good stuff by working together, don’t you?

So mom bloggers out there, I hope you will take the time to talk about this issue.  Not to be a salacious gossip, but to discuss how we can, as women, address this. And offer support but not enabling to those we might know who are in need.

This is just sad, and like I was sad for Meredith Williams-Earle, I am sad for Grace Tuten. So young to have screwed up so much. And the last thing to consider are the people who never think this will happen to them.  The “I’ll just have one drink” theory.

deadly decision (updated 6/4/15)

 UPDATE 6/4/2015

No winners here. This young woman, now pregnant with another child has been sentenced to prison for the death she caused with the accident.  This is in published media reports, so it is public knowledge.  I hope this woman can get through this.  I still feel the same about her prior behavior, but there are no winners in this case. At least this time family members could be seen with her.

Here is the coverage:

Meredith Williams-Earle (in black and pink dress) leaving courtroom with her husband, Timothy Earle (left), and her attorney Christian Hoey. (Laura McCrystal/Staff)
 On the morning of Aug. 6, 2013, the Lower Merion mother took a prescription sedative, swigged champagne, and filled a plastic cup with whiskey as she headed out the door.

Then she strapped her 2-year-old son into his loosely fastened car seat in the back of her Toyota Prius and set out to drive him to day care. At Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Williams-Earle sped through a stop sign and slammed into a flower delivery van.

Its 72-year-old driver died at the scene.

Now pregnant with her third child, Williams-Earle, 32, sat sobbing Tuesday in Montgomery County Court, apologizing and pleading for mercy…Judge William R. Carpenter said the death of Winston Staats could not be overlooked. Turning aside her requests to be free before her baby is born, he sentenced Williams-Earle to nine to 23 months.

The sentence brought to an end a tragic case that even perplexed the jury….The jury convicted her of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment – including endangering her own child…..and deadlocked on vehicular homicide.  By pleading guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, she avoided a retrial.

FROM BEFORE:

meredith 3When Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who lives in Bryn Mawr near Historic Harriton House, got into her car on August 6th, she was above the legal limit for alcohol and had Ativan (Lorazepam) in her system.  Not only that, but she had one of her children in the car.

What happened next, no one except her would know for sure, but media reports (based upon police reports) indicate mweshe blew threw a stop sign at Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue and struck and killed an older man in a delivery van.   Main Line Media News reported she was going 42 miles per hour.

I know where those roads meet quite well.  I worked in one of the Tower Bridge Buildings in Conshohocken for a decade and that is how I traveled back and forth. I remember hearing about the accident on KYW News Radio in my car when I was buzzing around on August 6th and thinking “wow that sounds like it could be bad.” You see, initial radio reports were in the form of a traffic advisory, no mention of anything other than something like it being called a serious accident.

mwe4

I was also saddened to learn that not only was this 30 year old mother a meredith 2teacher, but a graduate of my alma mater The Shipley School as well (and no I have no clue who she is, and I do not believe she was even born when I graduated high school). So bright, a mom, lived in a nice area, so what went wrong? Because something did.

meredithI am asking because the media has been floating photos of her out on the Internet and well, there seems to have been a metamorphosis.  She went from being a pretty co-ed at UPenn and pretty young teacher to the mug shot above.  You don’t travel from point A to point C without a point B. (And I am sure some reader somewhere will roll up and give me grief about writing about this, unfortunately.)

Bryn Mawr woman charged with DUI in fatal crash that killed Conshohocken man

Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 By Linda Stein
lstein@mainlinemedianews.com

Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who grew up in Bryn Mawr, was trembling as she sat next to her lawyers at a preliminary hearing Thursday related to an accident that took the life of a 72-year-old flower shop delivery driver.

Williams-Earle, 30, who teaches at Interboro High School, was driving a Toyota Prius with her 2-year-old son in a car seat when she allegedly ran a stop sign and struck a van at 10:28 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the corner of Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office……..Officers spoke to Williams-Earle at the scene and smelled alcohol. Her eyes were glassy and her speech slightly slurred, police said…..Later…Williams-Earle allegedly admitted to Officer John Kuvik that she had taken Ativan the night before and felt dizzy that morning, according to the criminal complaint. …..a friend told her that alcohol reverses the effect of that sedative so she had drunk some leftover Champagne, the complaint said….defense lawyer Joseph Hylan argued that his client had lived in Lower Merion her entire life, was a graduate of The Shipley School….She lives with her husband, mother and two young children, on the 700 block of Harriton Rd.

DSC00662Ativan and champagne are a heck of a combination.  And the drug is prescribed for anxiety, correct? So I have to ask in the pill happy nation in which we live, who was monitoring this young mom and for what? What she one of the millions of women detrimentally affected by depression after having children? Was something going on regarding the home front? This is a woman who doesn’t appear to have had many brushes with the law so to speak (although I did find record of a speeding ticket in Radnor Township in 2011.)

Also something that bothers me is she did the “perp walk” caught on camera alone.

Where is her familial support?  Wouldn’t you think a young mom like this would have had either her husband or mother there?   A friend? A grandparent, aunt, uncle, someone?  The media reports that she grew up in Bryn Mawr and lives in that house currently with her husband, mother, and little kids.

NBC10 Philadelphia: Teacher Charged in Deadly Drunk Driving Crash         

By     Lauren DiSanto    |  Friday, Aug 30, 2013  |  Updated 6:16 AM EDT

A Delaware County teacher is charged in a drunk driving crash that killed a 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran.

Meredith Williams-Earle, who teaches at the Interboro School District, was charged today with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person.

My initial reaction was to write a much more harsh post.  I have a huge problem with drinking and driving.   There are just too many tragedies.

But as I have read and seen the media coverage and read the comments left by people on websites with articles on this, the conclusion I come to in my opinion, is this is a woman in crisis. And these charges she is facing unless a county judge grants leniency is up to 3 years in jail.

My instincts (and I do not know her or even of her), is this is a person who would not survive jail.  And what good is justice if it creates more motherless children?

I have to think that this is a woman who needed help but no one was listening, or listening closely enough.  How do you live in a house with someone (again media reports other adults in her household, a husband and mother) and not know someone is in trouble or self-medicating?

Ativan is a high potency drug often used as a sedative. It is also  is used in the short-term treatment of anxiety and insomnia.  There could be any number of reasons she took it.  She could have been prescribed it or someone stupidly could have just given her some to take the edge off. We live in a nation of extreme pharmacology and well, pills are the new jellybean at times I think.

Sedatives are things I find both serious and scary.  If she was taking this drug for whatever reason she should not have been in a car, let alone left alone with the potential for pulling a Karen Ann Quinlan by mixing hard core prescription drugs with alcohol. And whomever this “friend” was who suggested she mix Ativan with champagne is a huge loser.   A friend is the person who says if you are dizzy let’s get you to a doctor, not have a drink and you can get in the car.

This young woman faces a boatload of charges (see docket sheet) –  two counts of homicide by vehicle, three DUI counts, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, careless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, speeding and improperly restraining a child.

This is what you call a real tragedy, boys and girls. A 72 year old man not wearing a seatbelt and everything that was going on with Meredith Williams-Earle.

Meredith Williams-Earle is a woman in crisis.  I don’t know why no one has addressed whatever is obviously going on with her, but I wish they would.  I do not think she is just some run of the mill gal who likes to play with drugs and alcohol.  I believe, right or wrong, that she needs serious help. And support from her family.  Because if she had help and more familial support or even familial awareness I am not sure she would have been behind the wheel the fateful day of August 6th, are you? But I wasn’t there, I don’t know, and can only guess and opine…as can all of us except immediate family.

There are no winners here, only quite a few take away lessons of life. This story makes me sad.