By Bob Uphues
Riverside police arrested a Minnesota woman the village's police chief called "one of the worst DUI offenders in the United States" after a 911 call reporting a woman passed out behind the wheel of a car in the parking lot of a Harlem Avenue gas station on April 2 at about 9:30 p.m.
Tasha L. Schleicher, 41, of New Hope, Minnesota, faces felony drunken driving charges in addition to driving on a revoked license, having no vehicle insurance and illegal transportation of open alcohol.
According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the Riverside incident is at least Schleicher's seventh DUI arrest, and there may be more that haven't been discovered yet, because Schleicher allegedly used aliases for similar offenses dating back to 2007 in six other states, including Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, California, Idaho and Oregon.
Schleicher is also wanted on warrants in Nebraska, for violating a court order, and in Idaho and Oregon, for failing to appear in court for drunken driving arrests, according to police.
She is slated to appear in bond court at the Maybrook courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.
"This is one of the worst impaired driving arrests our agency has ever made," said Weitzel in a press release.
Weitzel said that Schleicher was passing through the Chicago area because she had recently dropped off her 15-year-old son in Indiana "to party" during spring break.
The son is one of Schleicher's 11 children between the ages of 17 and infancy, who were taken from her custody by Minnesota Child Protective Services after a DUI arrest in Rochester, Minnesota, in September 2017.
Weitzel said Riverside police were able to locate the 15 year old in Indiana, and that police there have arranged for him to be returned to Minnesota.
According to published reports of the September 2017 arrest, Schleicher's blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit as she sped along U.S. Highway 52 near Rochester.
In the vehicle with her were five children under age 10, including a newborn, when she lost control of her vehicle, struck a cable median several times and only stopped five miles later while riding on a bare rim. According to news reports of the incident, Schleicher was nursing the infant when officers approached her vehicle.
The arrest resulted in an in-depth story in the Rochester Post-Bulletin that outlined Schleicher's lengthy history of DUI arrests and with Minnesota Child Protective Services.
When interviewed by Riverside police on April 2 at the Amstar gas station at 3346 Harlem Ave., Schleicher reportedly told officers she had children with her, even though she was alone in the her 2005 Nissan Maxima, which Riverside police subsequently seized.
Prior to confirming the location of all 11 children, police officers contacted local motels and hotels to see if any children were staying nearby.
Schleicher was so impaired, said police, that it appeared she was trying to fill her car's gas tank from a pump containing only kerosene. Police also reported recovering an open bottle of whiskey from the front passenger seat.
While in custody, according to police, Schleicher said she was pregnant and having a miscarriage. Paramedics transported her to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, where it was confirmed Schleicher was not pregnant nor suffering from any other physically-related medical condition.