County looks for reimbursement after rescuing woman charged with DUI
Davison County’s emergency management leader says local first responders plan to recoup their costs for their rescue of a suspected drunk-driver who was trapped in flooded waters along State Highway 37 earlier this month.
Emergency Management Director Jeff Bathke said the responding organizations, which include the Ethan and Mitchell fire departments, Davison County Search and Rescue and the Davison County Sheriff’s Office, have been collecting invoice information to recoup costs used in the Sept. 12 rescue on Enemy Creek, which is south of Mitchell. Court documents also list the Mitchell Ambulance and two tow operator companies as being involved in the rescue. In total, about 30 people were involved.
Teresa Deurmier, 61, of Mitchell, is charged with a fourth-offense DUI, driving around a barricade and having an open alcoholic beverage container accessible in her vehicle. The DUI charge is a Class 5 felony and is punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison.
Bathke, in speaking to the Davison County Commission on Tuesday, said that Deurmier went around barricades and approached an area where there was roughly 150 to 200 feet of water in front of her, which was estimated at 2 to 3 feet deep at its deepest point.
“She wasn’t even in the deepest part,” he said.
Bathke said the Mitchell Fire Division had to back its ladder truck into the area with rushing water and knock out the back window to extract her from the vehicle.
South Dakota state law allows state agencies and government subdivisions that incur costs in rescuing a violator or their vehicle to pursue civil action for the recovery of a civil penalty. The penalty amount can be the actual cost of any such rescue up to $10,000, plus a fine of up to $1,000.
Bathke said those emergency groups are putting together a case with the Davison County State’s Attorney office.
Following the rescue, Deurmier was taken to Avera Queen of Peace hospital for evaluation and reportedly gave a preliminary breath test of 0.15. When asked if she had anything to drink that day, Deurmier reportedly told law enforcement that she had three drinks earlier and had been eating toothpaste throughout the day.
Once released from the hospital, Deurmier was taken to the Davison County Jail. She was released on a $1,000 cash bond on Sept. 17.