Mitchell woman sentenced to two years for DUI in September flood
The Mitchell woman arrested in September after being rescued from flooding near Enemy Creek was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for a fourth-offense DUI.
Teresa Deurmier, 61, was also ordered to pay a total of $3,546.75 in restitution for the Sept. 12 rescue, during which about 30 Mitchell and Ethan first responders pulled her from her vehicle.
Judge Chris Giles said while he commended Deurmier for completing a treatment program while her case was in progress, he imposed a prison sentence to account for the risk posed to the community.
At 6:38 p.m. on Sept. 12, Deurmier was reported to have driven around barricades on the Enemy Creek bridge, causing the flood’s current to pin her car against the bridge’s guardrail. Davison County Emergency Manager Jeff Bathke later said there were between 150 to 200 feet of water in front of Deurmier, with that water two to three feet high at its deepest point.
Mitchell Fire and Rescue’s ladder truck was used to reach Deurmier, break her car’s back window and extract her from the vehicle. Personnel from Mitchell and Ethan fire departments and two tow truck operators were among those involved in the rescue.
Deurmier was taken to Avera Queen of Peace after the rescue and gave, according to court documents, a preliminary breath test of 0.15. Once released from the hospital, she was taken to the Davison County Jail, and she was released on bond Sept. 17.
“I know what I did was wrong, but prison or jail time, I don’t think that that’d be very good for me,” Deurmier said before her sentence was pronounced.
Deurmier pleaded guilty to the Class 5 felony on Jan. 21 and was originally scheduled to be sentenced in February, though her sentencing was continued several times. Her attorney, Doug Papendick, said Tuesday that she relapsed while awaiting sentencing but also completed treatment at Stepping Stones, went to Avera Behavioral Health and had been going to counseling regularly.
“She is dedicated to her sobriety, in fact more than many of the people I represent,” Papendick said. “...She wants to remain sober, and she is fighting to maintain sobriety.”
Davison County Deputy State’s Attorney Bob O’Keefe, who prosecuted the case, asked that Deurmier be sentenced to the maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, citing her actions both on the day of the rescue and since her arrest.
“What she did on this day put significant risk to a number of members of the community — first responders,” O’Keefe said. “...She could’ve cost lives. I believe that makes her a danger to the community.”
Giles said while Deurmier’s conviction marks her fourth DUI in the past 10 years, it’s the seventh she’s had in her lifetime.
Deurmier was sentenced to five years in the South Dakota Women’s Prison with three years suspended and credit for one day served. In addition to restitution, she was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $145 for a blood test, $106.50 in court costs and a $50 DUI surcharge.