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Former president of MADD chapter busted for DUI

By David Edwards
Friday, February 25, 2011 10:15 EDT
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Officers in Gainesville, Florida recently arrested a former president of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) group, and charged her with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police said Debra Oberlin, 48, failed a field sobriety test, registering .234 and .239 blood-alcohol level. The legal limit for driving in Florida is .08.

An officer pulled over Oberlin on Feb. 18 at 1:10 am, after she was seen “driving erratically on Northwest 19th Street, swerving and crossing lanes,” The Gainesville Sun reported.

“The officer wrote that Oberlin smelled of alcohol and had watery, bloodshot and dilated eyes. The report states that Oberlin told the officer she had four beers.”

The MADD chapter in Gainesville, where Oberlin was president for three years, closed in 1996 for financial reasons.

Oberlin, now a realtor, had no comment.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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  • Anonymous

    I get drunk most every night
    Seems like all we do is fight
    The more I drink
    The less that I feel blue
    Sometimes I feel like an awful fool
    Spendin’ my life on an old bar stool
    And yes I guess they oughta name a drink after you

    ~John Prine

  • Anonymous

    Good one. And the one about FAUX NEWS:

    “Spanish Pipedream (Aka Blow up Your tv)”

    She was a level-headed dancer on the road to alcohol
    And I was just a soldier on my way to Montreal
    Well she pressed her chest against me
    About the time the juke box broke
    Yeah, she gave me a peck on the back of the neck
    And these are the words she spoke

    Chorus:
    Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
    Go to the country, build you a home
    Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
    Try an find Jesus on your own

    Well, I sat there at the table and I acted real naive
    For I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve
    Well, she danced around the bar room
    and she did the hoochy-coo
    Yeah she sang her song all night long, tellin’ me what to do

    Repeat chorus:

    Well, I was young and hungry and about to leave that place
    When just as I was leavin’, well she looked me in the face
    I said “You must know the answer.”
    “She said, “No but I’ll give it a try.”
    And to this very day we’ve been livin’ our way
    And here is the reason why

    We blew up our T.V. threw away our paper
    Went to the country, built us a home
    Had a lot of children, fed ‘em on peaches
    They all found Jesus on their own

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q7G2NHLD62L3CDU7VHFZ4QPVQM Unknown

    Oberlin, now a realtor

    Well theirs goes any sympathy I might have had.

  • Guest

    Whoops!

  • Anonymous

    good…now she can see what zero tolerance feels like…..i was raped by my ex husband…and 46 hours later…after being traumatized….and not being able to eat for a day and a half…i took a benadryl…and had a shot of tequila….(yeah…stupid, i know…but, i surely wasn’t thinking clearly)…i drove home to my new house….on an unfamiliar road…and pulled into the neighbor’s driveway, by accident….long story short…my ex got away scott free….with EVERYTHING…but i was vilified…and it cost me $10,000 and no license for a year….because, madd had made sure that, in new jersey, your state of mind didn’t matter…zero tolerance….so, i hope this wrecks her life like it did mine…and don’t give me any of your “holier than thou” b.s……i am a law abiding citizen….my rapist went free, but i was a criminal…fair???….HARDLY

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKTMZWPUVVU4CBKH4HWPKPVNCY cal5000

    Haha

  • Anonymous

    Believe it or not, I heard John Denver’s rendition of Spanish Pipedream a few years before I discovered John Prine. I like to think it didn’t do me too much damage, though, and that I’ve made up for it since. I might be one of the few people who still owns the Pink Cadillac LP. (And also being a huge Steve Goodman fan, Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) is still one of my favorite songs and albums.)

  • Gert B Frobe

    Isn’t that the way of it, if someone speaks out about gays too much, then they end up being gay, someone talks down drugs, they are addicted?

    be ever mindful “thou protest too much”

  • Anonymous

    she should become a politician…then she can get away with even treason and murder with no accountability…

  • truebluecoondog

    “Oberlin…had no comment.”….Really?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NO4EXXA4CF5SCNMNNV4UX2WK6Y Scott

    a corporate funded REPUBLICAN politician that is… Democrats still get booted and go to jail.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KJJ4KEVT2Z5RDHTIRGJOUWL2EA Paul M

    Good post Denny! Wonder if “Alcoholics Anonymous” would adopt it as their symbolic song? Great song.

  • Anonymous

    1) We know this wasn’t your first time driving drunk.

    2) I suspect this event was the cumulate effect of years and years of bad choices.

    3) You could have killed someone.

    4) Sorry you married a rapist.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KJJ4KEVT2Z5RDHTIRGJOUWL2EA Paul M

    Yeah, they are a bit sleazy and one always has to exercise caution on their “home buyer” deals. That´s almost like buying a car at the ” I. Cheatum Car Dealership”. Giving you fare warning of his intentions.

  • Anonymous

    Makes a cute story. But I’d like more background.

    I wonder who died, a child? which drove her to start MADD and the effect that loss had on her alcohol consumption.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve represented a lot of drunk drivers. Clocking in at .23 or higher BAC? No way that represents only four beers. If it had been 4 beers the highest she should have been was a .12 or thereabouts. Shame on her for drinking and driving. As I like to tell my DWI clients, no one cares if you want to sit at home or in a bar and drink yourself stupid or dead. Just don’t get behind the wheel.

  • Anonymous

    John Prine is “teh awesome”.

  • YeaSayer

    MADD should be replaced with MADH: Mothers Against Damned Hypocrisy.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the hypocrisy is just thick in Florida. I was wondering how long it would be before one of these “holier than thou’s” was busted for this. Took longer than I thought, or maybe I just haven’t heard about it before. 4 beers? Damn, that’s a pretty hefty amount. I couldn’t do it, anymore, that’s for sure, but then, it’s been 26 years since I’ve had a drink. Too bad she can’t say that.

  • Anonymous

    Great song, but I always liked “Illegal smile” better. I guess it just speaks to me more…

  • Anonymous

    She’s got a point about MADD and their anti-alcohol zeal. I’ve watched them vilify judges for trying to come to a fair conclusion on some DWI cases which really deserved a different treatment than the standard, like the one I had with an ex-Army colonel who was sitting at home having a drink one night and his wife called and said she was going to kill herself. She was a mental patient with a history of suicide attempts. Poor old guy raced across town to try to rescue her, calling the cops before he left. Was he technically drunk? Yes, came in at a .09, but he had a sterling record and it was an emergency and he was an elderly guy just trying to save his wife’s life. Think he should have been treated the same as some party boy who gets plastered every weekend and drives because he doesn’t give a damn? I even had a case where my client WASN’T driving, but there was an accident at his apartment house parking lot and a cop responding to the scene pointed to him and asked him to move a vehicle which was blocking the only access lane to the apartment house and he obliged, but when he parked the car another cop who had just shown up could smell alcohol on him and asked if he’d been drinking. Next thing he knows he’s got a DWI.

    MADD is full of people who believe in prohibition. They show up in courtrooms and write nasty letters to the editor attacking anyone who disagrees with them. They’ve zealously pursued the under-age drinking laws to the point where some 20 year old who likes beer can be labeled as an alcoholic for the rest of his life with more than one conviction for underage possession of something which was perfectly legal for me to have at his age back when I was in college. Their zero tolerance crap has caused people who made a single mistake to be labeled for the rest of their lives.

    What finally got me more than anything else was the time my recently returned from Iraq for the SECOND time Marine niece was cited for “underage possession of alcohol” because she was caught holding a beer three weeks shy of her 21st birthday. If you’re old enough to fight and die for your country then you should be old enough to drink a beer. Blame MADD and its allies for this ridiculous policy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YHUR5LALBGRBDQ5VAKAL3JDKNU JustinB

    AGAIN!! This is not the first time I’ve heard of MADD leadership getting DUI.

    How is it that I, a 30 year old male of Southern California can go 30 years in an area of SoCA filled with bars, extreme cab rates, no public transportation, DUI checkpoints, and not to mention getting pulled over more often than not when driving around past 11 pm, go 14 years without getting a DUI?

    It’s real easy, I don’t drink in drive. I save it all for Vegas when I can walk or take a freaking monorail to my next destination.

  • Anonymous

    I posted “Yes, I Guess,” not Denny. Just to set the record straight.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UJ4XRIA3A3E6MYGK755EGWLN4Q Dani A

    Zero tollerance in any law is not justice.
    For justice to take place, there must be a judge, and if that judge’s hands are tied by the law, then the judge cannot be fair and impartial.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YSKQSEKOMG7GYZR25PNFABJ2EY MidniteCowboy

    Ah But fortunately I have the key to escape reality
    And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile
    It don’t cost very much, but it lasts a long while
    Won’t you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone
    No I’m just tryin’ to have me some fun

  • Anonymous

    JustinB, do you drink and drive in reverse?

  • Anonymous

    JustinB, do you drink and drive in reverse?

  • Anonymous

    no, Kevin….”we” don’t know anything of the sort……..!. yes, in fact it was….also…i wasn’t drunk….2.the only bad choice I made was marrying the rapist….3….hardly….i drove into the wrong driveway….4….thanks…me too…..5…..your quips/smart-ass remarks missed my point…….

  • Anonymous

    exactly…..perhaps Kevin can gain some insight by reading your post!

  • cannotvote

    Good to see hypocrisy existing right across the social spectrum! MADD always was a little much, a symptom of intolerance – where forgiveness is absent; as in this society, then people who live in glass houses should be real careful – hung by her own petard, silly moo! Instead of punishment and heavy fines, tolerance and counseling might be more effective – makes you wish people would stop throwing rocks! Have I mixed enough metaphors?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    The Fuggs and Fairport Convention put these guys to shame.
    Better lyrics, better singing, better everything.
    Similar subject matter.
    Wide, Wide River is my favorite.

  • Anonymous

    Nope. He’s still kicking and still the same old Prine. Hasn’t changed a bit. He’s playing tonight in Atlanta and has a solid tour schedule on the internet. Check him out.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, that is a very high BAC. Most non-drinkers would be unconscious and possibly on a hospital gurney being treated for alcohol poisoning with a number like that. In most states it’s an aggravated DWI, so she gets more jail time and harsher sanctions. Heck, most states consider anything over .14 to be aggravated, so she’s reealllyy aggravated. She’s not the worst I’ve seen, though. I had a client once who clocked in at a .42 BAC. Can’t believe she was actually able to get behind the wheel and turn on the car, let alone be caught on an interstate the way she was. She’d stopped in the middle of the road thinking she was at a stoplight. When the cops found out how high her BAC was they rushed her to a hospital and she spent the night before they took her to jail. This happened late on a Friday night. The following Monday morning I was called by the court and asked to come over and take on her case and do the arraignment. Most unusual. The reason was that she was STILL drunk at 9 a.m. and the judge wanted to make sure she had counsel who could explain the process to her once she sobered up. She told me she didn’t understand all the excitement and all she’d had was a “little vodka” … and maybe a “glass or two of wine” … and “maybe a couple of shooters …”

  • Anonymous

    His show in Greenville SC is sold out.

  • Anonymous

    Yea. If MADD was actually concerned about safety they would follow drunks home with a flashing purple light to warn others of the danger. Instead, all they care about is punishment, the harsher the better. And they would make 0.01% or less sufficient to impose their most draconian sentences. Remember the prudes from Prohibition? When alcohol was outlawed they went after ice cream parlors. That same spirit lives on today with MADD.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I didn’t miss anything. I just disagree with your spin.

    If you were over the legal limit you’re a criminal who can’t handle drinking and/or driving responsibly. Stop blaming the world and fishing for pity.

    You could have killed an innocent person. A kid. Take some responsibility.

    Get some help, get some help, get some help. It’s better than jail.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly!

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Muaaa haaa…Don’t you just love it when this happens? A MADD nutter getting arrested for DUI, a Catholic priest being caught his robe up while bonking an altar boy, a homophobe busted while getting a sensual massage at a gay parlor, a televangelist found in a compromising position with his wife’s sister…or brother, a politician making an A-list madam’s little black book. And the list goes on and on. Oh, yes. How sweet it is!

    I’ll drink to that!

  • cannotvote

    Makes you want to go off and dig up ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon!

  • Anonymous

    Actually he had some form of cancer in his neck some years back and had to have quite a bit of tissue removed. It’s noticeable physically, and he has to sing in a lower key as a result.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if she is another right wing christian evangelical republican nut job!!???

  • Anonymous

    That’s an opinion, and likely not one shared by many people.

    Wikipedia:
    Prine has taken his place as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation. In 2009, Bob Dylan told the Huffington Post that Prine was one of his favourite writers, stating “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about “Sam Stone,” the soldier junkie daddy, and “Donald and Lydia,” where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that.” In Johnny Cash’s autobiography Cash, he admitted “I don’t listen to music much at the farm, unless I’m going into songwriting mode and looking for inspiration. Then I’ll put on something by the writers I’ve admired and used for years (Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Guy Clark, and the late Steve Goodman are my Big Four)…” When asked by Word Magazine in 2008 if he heard Pink Floyd’s influence in newer British bands like Radiohead, Roger Waters replied “I don’t really listen to Radiohead. I listened to the albums and they just didn’t move me in the way, say, John Prine does. His is just extra-ordinarily eloquent music—and he lives on that plane with Neil Young and Lennon.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    Hang the bitch!
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers (D,A,M,M,)

  • Anonymous

    “closed for financial reasons”…. she obviously drank the profits…

  • Anonymous

    Although I am not a big drinker and make driving arrangements when I do go out I absolutely cannot pass the field sobriety test SOBER. I just tried it the other day and neither could the older gentleman I was having coffee with. So, in that sense I think the process is a little rigged.

  • Anonymous

    .239 and lived? I have never been that drunk, but I don’t see how she even got to the car unless she practices a lot. She must be related to the anti-gay congressmen who so often are caught in a bathroom tryst.
    Hypocrite is the family name for that kind.

  • Anonymous

    To claim you are a realtor today is to say you are unemployed, and when the market comes back they will train someone prettier who can stay sober all day.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, she was plotzed. That sucks. I figured she was going to be 0.09 and I would feel vindicated that they lowered the standard so low that she got popped. But .23 is HAMMERED. Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    Better yet Gimme Some Truth.

  • cannotvote

    Or some Shelter!

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Whatever happened to DAMM (Drunks Against Mad Mothers)?

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    The only thing missing from that photo was a Marlboro dangling from her lips.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    After all, she IS from Gainseville, Florida.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    Or Mother’s Little Helper.

  • Anonymous

    This is just too funny

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/MDX7RRQIXIA6W24HKCIMGHMTME Lawrence

    Ha. Ha. That is so funny! Everyone has got to serve their term. No exceptions! Do you get it now MADD! Ha. Ha.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXTnYCg8v8o Bamboo_Harvester

    how does that go … (something ?) protest too much.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    That woman looks shit-faced whether she’s drunk or not. Holy Moly! She’d scare a priest out of a confessional. At 2.39 BAC and she’s not on all-fours with one eye closed and a bra full of vomit pushing her glass of whiskey across the tile floor ahead of her? I do believe she has a very high level of tolerance and it’s not for other alcoholics. Time to find a sponsor, sweetie.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    “Me thinks yon Debra doth protest too much.”

  • Anonymous

    To bad you can’t drink a beer at a John Prine show anymore, he’s Sober!

  • Anonymous

    How was she supposed to get her car home!

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t know that. That’s interesting, because he used to be notorious for never getting through a performance of Dear Abby sober, not even on the record.

  • http://www.tommyjonestheband.com RantingTommy

    why would people live where you can’t walk to a bar or take the subway?

    there are many reasons not to live out in bumblefuck, this is one

  • Anonymous

    .24 now thats drunk driving
    this .08 bullshit is buzzed driving
    2 beers and you too can pay out yo azz for the next 10 years
    hope she gets the max

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U4CB4JMBKUBO6NL2RNREZDZUEA Freeky_Fried_Chicken

    MADD reached a milestone; they’ve now ruined more lives than drunk drivers.

    Your kid was killed, so go on a crusade.

    *yawn*

  • Anonymous

    “four beers”

    PRICELESS

  • Anonymous

    Is that like … “Mothers of Drunken Children” ?

  • http://clintjcl.tumblr.com/ ClintJCL

    More karma. MADD is an insane organization that has destroyed constitutional rights left and right (other articles on that I can direct you to, and there’s no way you won’t agree with me after reading them).

    Anyone who destroys freedom deserves the karma of having the harsh boot of justice on the back of their neck.

    So a big f-u to Debra Oberlin. Drunk driving is a problem, but MADD is not a solution. MADD has caused innocent lives to be ruined in their quest to save lives — so it’s only fitting that this woman receives the full boot of the law in her face.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how many of the people who are making these comments are able to find their children safely in their beds every night? I wonder how you would feel, day after day, knowing that you will never see your child again. How would you feel when you see the crash scene photos of your child in death, folded up in a compact car, with blood all over his face, after he was killed by a drunk driver? Who would you call, one month later, when you were suicidal? Would you call MADD and ask for a victim service specialist? Probably not… Say what you will…I am a direct recipient of victim services from MADD after my own son was killed two years ago by a drunk driver.
    They don’t want to prohibit alcohol…and zero tolerance is a good thing, especially when it can save someone’s life. They don’t care if you drink, as they are not against the person, they are against the act of drunk driving. That is why it is called MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING, and not called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EN6A47MK635VKHEW6YJIOGAI5Y jimmy

    you said you were 0.57 when the limit is POINT 08…so you re saying you were drunk by being POINT 57…Also the reason for you being at the bar drinking is besides the point, you were still drinking and drunk dumb dumb. And im sure the cop wasnt looking for a bribe from the owener..try this one on for a size…maybe he was pulling drunk people over who come out of that bar POINT 57…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EN6A47MK635VKHEW6YJIOGAI5Y jimmy

    you re right…zero tollerance for child molesters and rapeist is totally not justice your community college law teacher must be proud..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UJ4XRIA3A3E6MYGK755EGWLN4Q Dani A

    get your head out of your arse and wake up. Zero tollerance doesn’t mean child molesters and rapists get away. It means the judge has the right to decide if something doesnt warrant a harsh penalty even though the defendant is guilty. Say two teenagers, on one of their birthdays, both were 17, one turned 18… suddenly in some states, that is considered statuatory rape. Should that recieve 25 years in prison and a fellony charge?

  • Anonymous

    Gino…..you are a true ass……and another reminder not to post on these sites….

  • Anonymous

    well, thankyou, Gino……and I am sorry you will have to haul your child around for a year…..you mention “mitigating circumstances”….that was my objection to the “madd” laws in jersey….no mitigating circumstances..or “mense rea”(state of mind) arguments are accepted….well, in my life i have had 1 speeding ticket…when i was 18…..i rarely drink…..but, i truly believe that it should have been understood, that i had just been raped….anyway….many years ago…all water under the bridge….and i will never get justice…(my ex got away with everything…)anyway…life goes on, and i appreciate your apology….it is accepted and appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    I operated a bar in the early eighty’s, the drinking age was 18 and was later raised to 19, I actually had less trouble with the younger people than with their parents. MADD and their successful campaign to raise the age to 21 has probably produced the opposite results . .it put drinking back in the car for a lot of younger folks and they are not now exposed on how to drink responsibly, resulting in binge drinking and other inexperienced nonsense, it is unconstitutional for sure, but too hot for politicians, same as the pot and prison problem . . .

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