Alleged drunk driver gets court-ordered ignition interlock devic - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Alleged drunk driver gets court-ordered ignition interlock device

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The woman charged with intoxication manslaughter after she drove her car into Lady Bird Lake and killing a passenger, has been ordered to have a breathalyzer device with a camera installed in her vehicle.

This past weekend, police say 25-year-old Madeline Rackley drove down a boat ramp into Ladybird Lake after thinking it was an on ramp to I-35.

Police, who happened to be near by, helped Rackley and a female passenger escape from the vehicle, but her other passenger, 25-year-old Jarret Ryan Whittington died.

According to Police, Rackley had been drinking and had just left a downtown bar before getting behind the wheel.

This is not her first DWI offense and because of that, Rackley has to get an ignition interlock device with a camera installed in her car. This relatively new technology is reserved for serious repeat offenders of DWI and advocates of the device say it could have possibly prevented this tragic accident.

At Smart Start, Inc. in Austin, breath alcohol analyzers are installed in vehicles every day.

"We use that of course to monitor alcohol use and to keep people from drinking and driving," said Derrick Patterson of Smart Start Inc.

Repeat DWI offenders are often ordered by a judge to have the ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle.

"It'll prompt for the test and there will be a mouthpiece that inserts here. As soon as it prompts for the test you can blow into it," said Patterson.

In serious cases, that device now usually includes a camera mounted to the windshield.

"We've added the camera feature to it for positive identification," said Patterson.

It's something Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD, fully supports.

"The video camera gives us, as citizens in this country and Texas, more protection," said MADD Texas State Executive Director, Debra Johnson.

Johnson says her sister was the victim of a drunk driver.

"She suffered severe brain damage that changed her life and she didn't die then but died about 20 years later. None of those things had to happen," she said.

In the upcoming legislative session, MADD will push for first time DWI offenders to have the ignition interlock installed.

"We don't have the law though that says for every person convicted they have to have the interlock," said Johnson.

She says for repeat offender Madeline Rackley, the device may have saved a life.

"This was somebody that had she received the interlock when she was convicted, this accident may not have happened," said Johnson.

Rackley was arrested on a $100,000 bond, but has been released.

She also has to have a SCRAM device which is an ankle bracelet used to monitor an offender's blood alcohol content level.

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