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It's a MADD, MADD World

The former acrivist president of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chapter in Florida is arrested and charged with DUI.


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Photo via gwcooperracing

By Donel DeFreese


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Getting arrested for drunk driving is bound to be a mortifying experience for anyone, but it’s particularly mortifying when the drunk driver in question is a prominent activist against drunk driving. Not long ago, 48-year-old Debra Oberlin, the former president of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chapter in Gainesville, FL, was charged with DUI by the Gainesville Police Department after an officer stopped her one afternoon for her erratic driving. The Gainesville Sun reports that Oberlin was arrested after failing to complete a field sobriety test. Breathalyzer tests recorded Oberlin's blood alcohol level as high as .239--nearly three times the state's legal limit of .08. But while Oberlin insisted she had only put down four measly beers, the arresting officer’s report notes that the well-groomed matron smelled of alcohol and had watery, bloodshot, and dilated eyes. Gainesville's MADD chapter existed for several years in the 1990s before closing in 1996 due to a lack of financial support. Oberlin served as the chapter's president for three years, agitating in favor of more severe penalties for drunken driving arrests. MADD issued a terse statement on the incident: "While MADD is concerned to hear about this incident, we commend law enforcement for their efforts to keep our roads safe and are hopeful that no one was hurt as a result." According to the legal site FindLaw Blotter, Mothers Against Drunk Driving "was originally formed by Candice Lightner, who later left the organization. In 2002 she said that MADD 'has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned ... I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.'"

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