Colorado Woman Drives Drunk, Hits Teen, Crashes Into Church . . . On The Way To Her AA Meeting

Brenda Geers may have to revisit Step One in her Alcoholic Anonymous program. Geers not only hit an eighteen-year-old college student in Boulder, Colorado but crashed into St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church while driving drunk to her Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Geers first hit a food truck in the parking lot and then hit Eric Anderson who was sitting at a table. She then continued on to smash into the church. Thankfully, Anderson survived.

Geers now faces charges of vehicular assault and DUI. These cases often raise the tension of punishing such heinous crimes and acknowledging that a defendant has an addiction and was in a program trying to overcome it. Should Geers to to jail in your view?

Source: CBS

39 thoughts on “Colorado Woman Drives Drunk, Hits Teen, Crashes Into Church . . . On The Way To Her AA Meeting

  1. Driving drunk is no different than taking a loaded gun to the mall and randomly firing it into the crowd. Both are acts that can hurt and kill people, and both are acts of extreme selfishness.

    I don’t give a darn for someone’s addiction. People do manage to overcome their addiction and do so without hurting or killing someone.

    Those that can’t have to be held accountable for their actions.

  2. there are other ways to get to her meeting. the bus, her sponsor, a taxi, walking. never mind the fact that you’re not supposed to attend an AA meeting if you are under the influence. Her addiction is to alcohol. She CHOSE to drive her car while under the influence of alcohol. YES, she should be held accountable for her actions – those of choosing the drive her car while intoxicated.

  3. “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” The lady, perhaps, had a desire to quit but she could not. It is not unusual for someone to show up drunk an AA meeting. Drunks drink. She should be accountable and undoubtebly will be.

  4. The elderly are suffering from an epidemic of alcoholism, and it is often complicated by health issues. There are very few treatment centers that focus on the needs of the elderly. Most of the centers focus on the young.

  5. I live in Wisconsin which has a horrible alcohol problem, probably worst in the lower 48[I don’t think any state could top Alaska]. It’s based in the prior century where the beer industry was a top dog in the state. However, even as the beer industry has waned somewhat in Wisconsin, the legacy remains. I am not Carrie Nation, I like to drink. Our local newspaper, to it’s credit, has taken this issue head on. Legislators from both sides of the aisle have been cowards in this regard. The first DUI in Wisconsin is a civil offense..akin to an ordinance violation. On virtually a daily basis, the newspaper prints stories of people having their 10th, 12th violation. They seem to have put the cut off @ 5th offense. I never read any stories of people below that. This is a travesty.

    I guess Brenda Geers has forfeited the “anonymous” @ her meetings. That’s not to denigrate AA, it has saved peoples lives.

  6. I do not think incarceration should be had…. Treatment… Yes…. How many people have double standards….. I did the same thing…. But caused no damage….. Hypocrisy, I tell you…..

  7. As someone who has actively worked in treating people with addictions I can confidently state that my “success” rate was about 20%. This is normal for what has become the “Addiction Industry”. Obviously 20% is is an awful measure of “success” and reflects the difficulty of addiction treatment. My time doing it certainly proved to me that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. Other professionals in the field have yet to have learned that lesson, or become so jaded that they can’t admit their own failures even to themselves.

    From my perspective and many others, a basic tenet of fighting ones addiction is the acceptance of responsibility for ones actions. You do not get to use your addiction as an excuse for reprehensible behavior. This woman deserves prison time, but the methods of incarceration for addicts need to be revised. To put a person such as this into a general prison population is to put a lamb among wolves. However, as long as we pursue the insane “War on Drugs” we will not be able to clearly understand the problem well enough to fix it. The WOD has the underlying premise that getting “High” is immoral and that premise poisons the thought processes of those who would deal with it. Inebriation of various sorts has been with humanity for untold ages. It is inebriation with harmful consequences to others that should be society’s concern.

    I this instance, given that the remedies are limited, this woman should face prison time. One could only hope that in the future we will grow enough as a society to do away with our WOD and treat the problems of addicts endangering others in a way that will both punish their activity and work towards resolving their addiction.

  8. MikeS, I would like your thoughts. In recent years there seems to be a big upswing in the diagnosis of bipolar for addicts/alcoholics. Some take a perverse comfort in the diagnosis w/ the pat line, “I’m bipolar and I self medicate.” Now, I believe that is sometimes indeed the case. However, of late it there seems to be a significant uptick in this diagnosis, vis a vis addicts. Your thoughts?

  9. nick, They are now using the term bi-polar to encompass mood disorders that are not as severe as the classic manic depressive. In any case, that is what I have observed.

  10. Yep, but I am old enough to have seen a given diagnosis overused before they move on to the next one. It is not a diagnosis I would want as the meds have lots of side effects including weight gain.

  11. Mike, Thanks for your prospective, that was enlightening.

    Shelly, I use a similar comparison about drunk driving and random gun fire. One garners long prison terms and the other is just a brief stay, often in nights only county lockup even when it caused deaths. It is changing slightly and slowly but more needs to be done.

    Nick, If it sounds like an excuse it probably is. The hunt for why people become addicted and how they can overcome it is really still in its infancy. Other conditions like depression, bi-polar or genetics may have a hand in addiction. Those need to be treated. But we all have our problems don’t we. If some other condition “makes me drink” thats just not owning up to the problem. Treat the condition and the addiction.

  12. How do you people live in your own minds? She needs to be strapped to a train track and let a drunk train conductor run her over. That would save the expense to the state and future embarrassment to the family.

  13. I think part of the disconnect we have over this question is the fact that for years we grew up with the concept of the ‘town drunk’ and the drunk tank (Otis on Mayberry RFD comes to mind). He was treated as a sort of humourous character who would show up drunk, ‘sleep it off’, and then go about his business until the next time. The reality, of course, is much different. When I was working the ER all those years, I can’t think of more than a VERY few cases of truly horrific automobile accidents where, at least one of the victims didn’t have alcohol on their breath. Should she do jail time? She hit a teenager who was not even driving, but sitting at an outside table eating. That ALONE should require jail time. I realise that this women has an illness, but that illness could have cost this teen his life. Should a diabetic who doesn’t take his/her medication and goes into shock because ot it and ends up hurting someone on the road go to jail? Of course they should. Crimminal negligence at least. Lest you think that I have no compassion for these people let me state that YEARS ago, I myself was pulled over for DUI. I knew I was wrong, I did my required time in our lovely ‘Tent City’ (thank godd it was only 24 hours) and have never had the slightest urge to re-offend. Been there, done that.

  14. Kraaken, One might point out that Otis was on foot, not behind the wheel. However, statistically you are more likely to die walking drunk, than driving drunk.

  15. Where was JESUS to protect the Lady when she really needed him? After all, she only had Jesus Juice before her AA meeting.

  16. Almost every one of you beat up on her in your comments. She is going to AA. She should not have gone drunk. The author of the article (JT) refers to this as “heinous crimes”. On a scale of things I think that this is down the list a bit. Pedophile priests dont get the denigration that this lady gets in the comments here. Then there are people who torture dogs. Some schmuck is running for President who put a dog in a crate and strapped it to the roof of his car and drove across country. He is not even thought of by JT and the commenters as a criminal or a pervert. Water boarding comes to mind as on the genre of heinous crimes. Beating the old guy in the wheelchair in the ER was close to heinous. Using a deadly weapon when deadly force is not necessary to stop a criminal from doing worse is heinous– as in tasers. A police department which issues tasers to cops and allows them to shoot anyone, even for fun, is a heinous organization. To characterize this set of facts as a heinous crime makes me wonder where the author is coming from. Perhaps the author/ lawyer was trying to stir us up in our comments. If this is a law professor perhaps he should give us a list of heinous crimes that are recognized in the American legal system. If we could start with some Nazi Nuremberg defendants who were convicted of killing millions and go downhill from there, perhaps we could have a ladder of heinous crimes.
    Perhaps we bloggers could vote on whether this lady AA driver is worse than the cops who electrocutes someone with a taser who is not life threatening at the time or with the waterboarders at Gitmo.

  17. Hymee: Pedophile priests don’t kill people.The putting of Shamus’ kennel on the roof of the care, while stupid, and showing a lack of character, doesn’t kill people. Drunks DO.

  18. There are in fact very good AA units in most if not all prisons; in fact, prison is one of the few places where you can COUNT on being able to get to an AA meeting without driving! At the point where an addiction has reached the point where the addict [even accidentally] does serious harm to other people not even connected with her addiction (as in someone who has not been enabling her, drinking with her, selling her liquor, etc.), punishment in accordance with law is appropriate. Perhaps she will get a lighter sentence if there is a record of strenuous efforts to get ahead of her problem, or of past efforts to make amends to others her habits have hurt. One hopes (perhaps against hope) for wisdom and mercy in the courts.

  19. Wow Hymee, that was “One giant leap”, but not for mankind. If your point is there are more heinous crimes you could have made it more succintly. No one would disagree w/ that but it’s tangential to this post.

  20. Malisha, There was a few AA groups in Leavenworth when I worked there. They were well attrended, but some of the inmates were required to attend.

  21. Kraaken 1, October 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    “Hymee: Pedophile priests don’t kill people”

    The pedophiles just kill the souls of those they abuse. They abuse their position of power and respect to steal innocence. They belong is prison.

  22. This woman, when she gets out of jail, needs probation time. She needs to lose her driver’s license and continue with AA. When she gets her driver’s license back, she needs an alcohol detector on her vehicle.

  23. I believe regardless of the illness alcoholics might suffer, there is the notion of voluntary intoxication as far as the legal culpability goes.

    The defense of intoxication generally holds that a person was incapacitated and unable to make a proper decision legally. In other words, a person would generally be immune from harassment charges if they made threats to another person while she was recovering from the effects of general anesthesia post surgery.

    Voluntary intoxication holds that the actor took the intoxicant upon her own free will, knowing the effect and wishing this to happen. Since the person then put themselves into the situation that led to the guilty act or omission, the intoxication defense is not often fully available.

    There are some circumstances where the voluntary intoxication might mitigate the punishment or degree of the crime, but generally with DUI and Vehicular Assault charges, the intoxication is the essential element of the crime and the punishment proscribed is in theory built in.

    Generally the legislative intents behind DUI/DWI and Vehiclular Assault laws in each state is to offer a strong deterrant to commission of the driving crimes prior to the act. The intoxication is not the crime, it is driving under this influence that is. The legislature does not criminalize intoxication for persons not otherwise restricted from consuming intoxicants, which this might be more arguable of a defense toward not being able to control its usage due to the addiction medical condition, the legislature is instead trying to prevent driving under the influence. This is the more important distinction in my view.

  24. Me think that there are too many drunks to know the count of real alcoholics.


    You think it’s a choice to drink after addiction has taken hold? Have you not been keeping up with the trend of addiction causes. Leave it to a cop to tell you what it is all about.

    Are you the same Darren that was a cop that now owns a liquor store? A little self righteous are you not!

  25. Candy Picker.

    I invite you to perhaps read my post a little more carefully. In it, you might discover that I stated it was not illegal to become intoxicated, but rather the illegal act was to drive after intoxication. The elements of the crime are the same for an alcoholic as well as a person who drank for the first time. I was simply pointing out the statutory nuances of the law. If others choose to bring in the medical effects of alcohol, that is another discussion.

    the choice part you mention might be correct with regard to addiction itself, but that is not the topic of my post, that woudl be what legislatures in the US states tend to recognize. I don’t myself see that the consumption of alcohol causes a medical desire to operate a car or use any other tool or object.

    Additionally, the last time I saw a person claim in court “I can’t stop driving after I have been drinking.” The judge put the guy away for an entire year behind bars, the maximum punishment then.

    And, you are correct I am not being self righteous,

  26. Interesting. BIG distinction between drinking too much and drinking/driving. I have taken people’s keys before when they were drunk and acted like they thought they were OK to drive. One time I remember, I was at a wedding, friend of the bride’s mother, and a guy who was a guest of the groom’s family got totally smashed and then decided to drive himself and his family home. He had been in conversation with me and I saw the picture. I said, “You’re too drunk to drive, let your wife drive.” He answered, “she’s worse drunk’n ME, are you kiddin’?” I saw her come up with a big silly smile on her face and said, “OK, then, you need to give me your keys and sit and have a cup of coffee with me,” and he agreed. THEN someone from the groom’s family got the mother of the bride to come over and verbally attack me for humiliating someone at their big event. Then, surprise surprise, the guy himself started up arguing for ME and insisting that it was right for me to take his keys! He stood up unsteadily and shouted, “See this?” Pointing to a scar on his forehead. “Know how I got THIS?” he demanded. I imagined he was going to say he got that in a crash when he had been driving DUI but no, he said he got that scar taking away a drunk’s keys. “She’s RIGHT!” he shouted.

    Do you know those idiots demanded his keys back and acted like I was a criminal and then they gave the keys to him and told him to leave? I have no idea how he got home or if there was an accident; they would never have told me, if there was one.

    But it was interesting because although he was too drunk to know he should not drive, he was not too drunk to know that I was more qualified than he was at that moment to make the determination. And he was right. I’d say you HAVE to punish for drunk driving without regard to the “impaired capacity” to make a good judgment as to the drunk individual’s drunkenness, or there will be no way at all to enforce the law fairly. That endangers everyone.

  27. i did notice that on the list of crimes driving with a suspended/revoked license wasn’t there.

    and yes she should go to jail. she needs to own her actions.

  28. Geers now faces charges of vehicular assault and DUI. These cases often raise the tension of punishing such heinous crimes and acknowledging that a defendant has an addiction and was in a program trying to overcome it. Should Geers to to jail in your view?
    Geers first hit a food truck in the parking lot and then hit Eric Anderson who was sitting at a table. She then continued on to smash into the church. Thankfully, Anderson survived.
    If she didn’t hit Anderson on purpose, she shouldn’t have to go to jail.

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