In October of 2015, a 23 year old woman named Whitney Beall used a live streaming app on her phone in order to record herself drunk driving. Police in Lakeland, Florida received phone calls regarding a possible drunk driver who was using a social media app to display her illegal car ride to the public.
Lakeland Police spokesman, Sgt. Garry Gross explained that Beall actually talked about how she is drunk during the recording. She also noted several times that she had a flat tire and had no idea where she was. In 30 years of law enforcement, Sgt. Gross has never encountered anything like this before.
Since the video was streamed across the world, a number of messages on the app as well as personal text messages were sent to Beall asking her to stop driving before she killed herself or another driver. Luckily, Lakeland police officers were able to identify landmarks in the area from Beall’s streaming video and used these landmarks to locate her.
She was found driving a 2015 Toyota Corolla with a flat left front tire. As soon as she was located, officers witnessed her hit the curb with the right front tire as they proposed a traffic stop. Officers state that the smell of alcohol was radiating from Beall. She failed the Standardized Field Sobriety Test and refused to take the breathalyzer test. Beall was then arrested, charged with a DUI, and later transported to the Polk County Jail.
Punishment for Beall’s DUI was harsher than usual. According to Assistant State Attorney Lori Winstead, Beall pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and was charged with a six-month license suspension, 12 months of probation, and 10 days of vehicle impoundment. This combination of punishments is common for an initial DUI.
Since Beall flaunted that she was endangering her community, she was also forced to perform 150 hours of community service and 10 days of weekend work. This terrible incident has prompted the Lakeland Police Department to train their officers on what to do when emerging technology causes something like this to occur once again.