Passenger Charged With DUI?

Erin Dooner, the passenger in a car, has been charged with a DUI and other charges, following an accident on March 16 of this year.  Dooner allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of the car, causing the car to swerve, hitting a state trooper’s car.  Two troopers were injured as a result of the accident, leading to vehicular assault charges.

Jean Fonte was actually the driver of the car.  Fonte picked Dooner up from the Monroe County Driving Under the Influence Center, which is likely a detox facility.  When Fonte picked up Dooner, the two got into an argument.  Dooner hit Fonte.  Fonte then pulled into a parking lot, leaving Dooner.  Dooner repeatedly called Fonte until Fonte returned to pick her up.  The argument continued and Dooner grabbed the steering wheel, causing a head on crash with a state trooper.  Both Dooner and Fonte, as well as two troopers were injured.  Dooner’s blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit.  In addition to DUI and vehicular assault, Dooner was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and careless driving.

It is not clear how the investigation revealed all of this information.  The investigation took five months to complete.  It also sounds as though Dooner had picked up a DUI earlier in the evening as well.  Dooner blamed Fonte for the earlier DUI.  She is currently being held in jail.  She has not posted bond.

In Colorado, driving is defined as “actual physical control.”  This definition does not require that the person in possession or control be seated in the driver’s seat.  In fact, it does not even require that the car be moving.