By Bob Uphues
The woman Riverside's police chief called "one of the worst DUI offenders in the United States" was sentenced to 24 months' probation after pleading guilty to one count of felony driving under the influence on Aug. 20 in front of Judge Ramon Ocasio III at the Maybrook courthouse.
Tasha Schleicher, 41, of New Hope, Minnesota, had been in custody at Cook County Jail since her arrest on April 2, when police responded to a 911 call reporting a woman passed out behind the wheel of a car at a Harlem Avenue gas station.
When police arrived on the scene, Schleicher was out of the car trying to refuel her vehicle at a pump that dispensed kerosene. Schleicher also told police at the time that she had left her children at a motel near Riverside, a statement that turned out to be false.
Police later were able to account for all 11 of Schleicher's children and learned that she had at least six prior drunken driving arrests in six different states dating back to 2007.
Schleicher reportedly used aliases in other DUI arrests and, at the time of the Riverside incident, she was wanted on warrants in Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon.
Minnesota Child Protective Services had taken custody of all of Schleicher's children, ranging in age from infant to 17, after she was arrested for drunken driving in September 2017 near Rochester, Minnesota.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel called Schleicher's sentence "disappointing."
"This continues to demonstrate that as a nation, drunk driving and drugged driving are not treated as serious criminal offenses," Weitzel said in a press release. "Society's views need to change and habitual DUI offenders need to be held accountable for their actions."