Trying to Beat the Breathalyzer

Programming Note: My next post in the Briana Maitland Missing Persons case will hopefully be ready by tomorrow.

Internet search engines are powerful tools; especially when needed to expose myths. Unfortunately, the defendant in this arrest did not do her homework*:

A local woman who apparently thought she could beat a Breathalyzer test by stuffing her mouth with pennies is facing up to 30 days in jail after admitting to her second DUI.

Anne O'Rourke, 29, recently pleaded guilty to an arrest Feb. 21 when she got pulled over with an intoxication level of .14 percent, charges say. Well over the legal driving limit.

O'Rourke was initially stopped for erratic driving along Main Boulevard shortly after 2 a.m.

The local police chief couldn't understand what the woman was saying when he approached her vehicle and noticed how her cheek was "puffing out," according to an arrest report.

When asked what she had in her mouth, O'Rourke "mumbled nothing" and was then told by the officer to open her mouth, charges say. That's when the chief said he saw a large number of pennies.

The officer told the woman to spit them out, adding it was "a myth" that copper coins might alter Breathalyzer testing.

O'Rourke went on to fail sobriety tests, police say.

She was unable to walk a straight line or stand on one leg without swaying or holding onto the back of her Chevrolet Cavalier, according to arrest papers…
Just for laughs, I googled breathalyzer and pennies and the search returned over 25,000 results—pages and pages of how copper pennies are not useful in fooling a breathalyzer machine.

Had the defendant tried Google, she would have learned from Snopes, UrbanLegends, Yahoo Answers, and other sites that such an idea is foolhardy.

The “slam dunk” affirmation that pennies do not work was determined by none other than the sharp minds at the television show MythBusters-—where they tried several strategies including coins, onions, and mints and all of them failed to lower the breath test.

On a side note, this was episode six which disapproved the idea that metal body piercings increase a person’s chance of being struck by lightning. Everyone breathe a deep sigh of relief now.

In sum, I hope the woman decides not to drive drunk anymore, learned that pennies don’t affect the breath test, and will Google any additional rumors before trying.

The thought of placing pennies in your mouth that have been rolling around on the floor at the gas station restroom is bad enough, but at least she did not try to deceive the breathalyzer with feces like that Canadian fellow did.

Wow, I am glad I ate before writing this…

*The story of the woman’s arrest appears at a password protected news site, so I am unable to provide a direct link.


Meadowlark said...

I have had a love/hate relationship with Mythbusters ever since they "busted" a myth - incorrectly.

It is a well known fact in the Marine Corps that Gunny Hathcock fired a bullet directly through the scope of another sniper and killed him. I don't care that the guys could not replicate the event, it's still true. Haven't they ever heard of a "once in a million - all the stars are aligned" things? Things that are technically impossible but actually happen and can never be replicated?

Trying to disprove ANYTHING about my beloved Corps just pisses me off.

Sorry to go off on a tangent, I just wanted you to know they're fallible. ;)

Slamdunk said...

Well argued ML. I have not seen the episode about Carlos Hathcock's shot that you are referring to, but will have to look for it.

Oddly, I just mentioned the legendary Marine's name on a comment on Sandra's K-9 blog the other day. I am planning a post on Hathcock, but have not found a fitting connection yet.

Slamdunk said...

In my previous comment, I should have made it clear--I know of the story of Hathcock's shot but have not seen the MythBusters episode on the event.

Meadowlark said...

Well, as my bumper sticker with the EG&A says: Heroes get remembered, Legends live forever.


Interestingly (probably not, but it's interesting to me!) I had always thought Gy H. had the most confirmed kills. That is, until Husband met Chuck Mawhinney while Mawhinney was teaching at a LEO training course.

It is quite the brotherhood.
(OK, done hijacking your comments)

mappchik said...

In our regular family viewing of Mythbusters, this episode is one of my favorite from the viewpoint of a parent.

The MB team has done so much to give my kids memorable examples of why drinking and driving is a bad idea. We can talk to them until we're blue in the face about the official reasons, but the kids didn't really have a grasp on the "why" until seeing some of these episodes.

Nothing like watching the team members swerve around in vehicles, fail every breathalyzer test, and face plant on a treadmill while attempting a sober-up-fast remedy to drive home the point.

Natalie said...

What a great post! The thought is just disgusting to put all that stuff in one's mouth. Yech.

Interesting sidenote, and not really police related but alcohol related. I've watched Three Sheets with my hubby and there were a few myths about different forms of alcohol. When consuming the "high quality" stuff one can get drunk but not suffer a hangover the next day.

While in Japan, the host stated that the next day he didn't have a hangover after drinking large amounts of saki (sp?).

Highly entertaining show, even if you've never consumed alcohol before (like me, except "accidentally" in other countries like a sinfully good gelato in Rome, kinda dry tiriamsu in Czech Republic and a really nasty ginger beer in England. Oh, and cough syrup).

Slamdunk said...

MC: I agree--picture and thousand words.

Thanks for the show suggestion and link Natalie.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Wow, I am glad I ate before writing this…"

Me, too!

angelcel said...

I have never heard of the pennies in the mouth theory ...who comes up with these things?! As for the chap and his own poop. Well, that's just gross!

jules said...

Ewwwww! I do love myth busters though.