How Big of a Deal is a DUI?

In 2010, adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Winnetka Trustee Jennifer Spinney’s arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol has sparked a debate on Patch, with some people seemingly downplaying the incident and others saying they hope she’s publically shamed as a way of making others think before getting behind the wheel when they’ve had too much to drink. 


Some readers commented that even though DUI is a serious offense Spinney did not hurt anyone in the process. 

“Ms. Spinney will pay for this mistake. Let’s not take away from her character. She has served the Village of Winnetka for two years and made great changes in the town,” Patrick wrote. “She makes no money for her time and has fought an up hill battle doing so. Give her a break. Fortunately no one was hurt except her pride. I’m confident a lesson has been learned.” 

Patch reader Brat wrote: “She made a bad decision but she didn’t deserve to be humiliated. There aren’t many people in Winnetka who haven’t driven drunk at some point.” 

In 2010, adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times – that’s almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving daily, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report

Patch reached out to all of the other Winnetka trustees, but only one spoke with us. 

“It has nothing to do with what goes on at the Village Board meetings," Trustee Richard Kates said of the incident. 

Others readers felt that driving drunk should always be taken seriously and people should not be defending Spinney’s arrest. 

“I think when you get too many defenders of Ms. Spinney, it only calls attention to it more; it appears as if you're defending her allegedly driving while drunk,” Me thinks 2 wrote. “I think ALL police reports should be reported here since this seems to be our best source for activity in the community; not only Ms. Spinney, EVERYONE. That way, we'd all know and be on equal footing, and we could also be better crime watchers where necessary. I'm sure she and her family are embarrassed, but learn from it. The crux of the story is she was WRONG to have driven at all. And we should all be thankful she nor anyone else was hurt. Embarrassed? Or in jail for killing someone? I think I'd take the former.” 

“She is a trustee, which means she is given responsibilities that I would hope would hold her to a higher standard. Instead she flaunts her status while drunk and expects people to give her slack because of her status,” Roxanne Conway wrote. 

Many readers felt that drunk driving should be taking very serious, especially in light of two recent deaths of children that resulted from driving under the influence. 

“I am glad that this woman was detained before she killed someone. Did anyone hear about the teen in Highland Park that recently killed a 5 year old? I am glad that the Skokie Police paid no attention to the threatening statements of an entitled drunk woman. It is rather refreshing to know that no one is above the law,” Lola wrote. 

“The fact is she got drunk then got in a car and drove it. You know recently in Skokie a woman got high, got in a car and drove it. And what happened? She caused an accident that *killed a small kid*. I am glad this trustee is embarrassed. She should be *shame on her*! It might make another person think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car while under the influence.”

In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

Stay up to date on the latest news in Winnetka, Glencoe and Northfield! Sign up for Winnetka-Glencoe Patch's newsletter or "like us" on Facebook.

NS Watchdog September 14, 2012 at 09:56 PM
It's all relative and I doubt anyone will ever agree. If we ourselves or someone we know gets a DUI, we downplay it and act as if we/they didn't deserve it. There's no denying that driving intoxicated is, and should be a crime. However, I do feel the punishment is overly harsh. If I was to get a DUI when I was 19 because I was a dumb kid, should that really ruin the rest of my life and prevent me from achieving my maximum potential and being successful? Along with that harshness, there's a big and unfair grouping together of drivers who are intoxicated, and drivers who are over the legal limit. There's a significant difference between driving home after a couple drinks versus getting completely loaded and TRYING to drive home. This woman, who initially I felt bad for, was clearly drunk. Her urinating herself, unable to stay on the road, and then making ignorant statements like " I was just with the freaking chief of police in Winnetka" just shows how intoxicated and desperate she was. Was she DUI? Yes. Is she a criminal? Now she is. Is she a bad person? She doesn't seem like a bad person, but her mindset that because of who she knows means she is above the law therefore deserves special treatment doesn't help. The law is pretty discriminatory. I depends on how you view life and second chances. I almost think a first offense should should be a lighter penalty and more-so a wake up call and then if you go ahead and get busted for a second offense, jail time is a necessity.
Cole Pierce September 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Hahahaha What a rube. Just another example of stupidity. This woman needs to be kicked off the board. I don't drive drunk. There is no excuse ever. Thank God she didn't hit any of my family members or anyone. Lol She peed her pants. My son posted this story in several important websites so they will show up as top searches for years to come. This fool deserves no sympathy but maybe fresh underwear. Now resign you boob. You are an embarrassment and all will know for decades online. Now get out you filthy criminal.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »