Riverside Police Chief Believes Repeat DUI Offender Should Be Sentenced To Prison

Bernie Tafoya
August 24, 2018 - 12:13 pm

Riverside police


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A west suburban police chief said he believes a 41-year-old woman who received two-years probation after being indicted on several DUI charges should have been sentenced to prison. 

Riverside police chief Tom Weitzel has called Tasha Lynn Schleicher "one of the worst DUI offenders in America" and said that, in April when she was arrested at a Riverside gas station on DUI charges, she was "hammered."

"She also told us she had five other kids with her in the car, but when the officers arrived, she’s trying to pump kerosene into her vehicle. Highly intoxicated. No kids are in the car," Weitzel said.

Chief Weitzel said Schleicher also then told police she had left her children alone at a motel, prompting them to search all area hotels and motels, only to find out Schleicher had lied about having her children on the trip with her.  She also lied and said she was pregnant, prompting a trip to a hospital for an examination.

On Monday, Aug. 20, according to Cook County State's Attorney's spokeswoman Tandra Simonton, Schleicher pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated DUI. Cook County Judge Ramon Ocasio sentenced Schleicher to 24 months probation.

Chief Weitzel said Schleicher remains in Cook County Jail, though, because she has warrants for her arrest in her home state of Minnesota, plus Oregon and Nebraska. He said some of those warrants are for driving under the influence. Others are for fraud related to DUI charges.

Of the probation sentence, Chief Weitzel said, "I think that it’s actually ridiculous."

Weitzel believes public attitudes about driving under the influence lead to low or reduced sentences.

He said he does not believe a first-time DUI offender should, necessarily, be sentenced to prison. He thinks, though, that "habitual" drunken or drugged drivers should spend time behind bars.

"When you get, not only to the general public’s view, but the court’s view…have a very lackadaisical view on the sentencing for, in this case, I would say habitual DUI offenders," Chief Weitzel said.

The chief said he believes Schleicher will eventually drive drunk again and that "it'll be lucky if she doesn't kill herself or someone else or else seriously injure somebody."