MERIDIAN — Mandatory ignition interlocks on vehicles for first-time DUI offenders would prevent multiple drunken driving offenses, a Boise Mothers Against Drunk Driving official said Monday. And they would have prevented Wendy Myrick of Nampa from what Meridian police said was her 5th DUI arrest in 10 years, MADD's Miren Aburusa said.

Meridian Police say they arrested Myrick, 41, Sunday night for DUI, driving without privileges and transport of an open container. She was later booked into the Ada County jail.

MADD advocates mandatory ignition interlocks, or in-car breathalyzers, for all first-time DUI offenders. The devices require convicted drunken drivers to prove they are sober before their vehicles will start.

Whether first-time offenders in Idaho get ignition interlocks is up to judges. There is no set criteria for them, Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said. Second-time offenders or felony DUI offenders are required to have ignition interlocks.

Myrick had previous arrests in California and Washington, Meridian Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea said. Online court records show no previous arrests for Myrick in Idaho.

“If that woman had had an ignition interlock on her car, that would prevent those continuous DUIs,” Aburusa said.

Caldwell GOP Rep. Darrell Bolz said required use of the devices for first-time offenders is worth looking into, though the cost could be an issue.

Canyon County Sheriff Chris Smith said his staff could soon make a purchase of several of the devices for use in Canyon County.

Fifteen states now require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunken drivers. Ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunken driving recidivism by 67 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers. Laws requiring interlocks for first-time convicted drunken drivers in both New Mexico and Arizona have helped reduce drunken driving fatalities in those states by 36 and 46 percent, MADD's website claims.

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About the arrest

Meridian Police report that they stopped Wendy Myrick at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday after getting a call for a possible DUI on Eagle Road. They report pulling her over in front of St. Luke's Meridian Medical Center and smelling alcohol on her breath. She failed a field sobriety test and was taken into custody. Meridian police would not release the blood alcohol content Myrick registered. She was over Idaho's legal limit of .08.

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