One of worst DUI offenders is caught again

Tasha Lynn Schleicher, 41, of New Hope, Minn., is in familiar territory: in jail and charged with drunk driving.

It’s Illinois’ turn to have a crack at Schleicher, who has had 11 of her 12 children taken away from her — all for reasons related to her drunk and impaired driving, according to WLS TV.

What was she doing in Riverside, Ill.? Dropping off the one child she still has — a 15-year-old — so he could “party” during spring break somewhere in Indiana, the TV station reported. She doesn’t remember where and authorities are looking for him.

“She’s lied about her name, date of birth, Social Security number and even that she was pregnant, leaving officers no choice but to take her to emergency room for treatment for something completely fictitious. I believe her trip to the hospital was really an attempt by her to escape custody,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said.

She’s got outstanding warrants in three states and DUI convictions in five states besides Minnesota.

Maybe you remember her from this 2017 incident when she drove drunk in Rochester and crashed into a median barrier on U.S. Highway 52 with five kids in the car. When police showed up, she was breastfeeding one of them. She didn’t have a driver’s license.

“Her kids mean the world to her,” one of her neighbors told the Rochester Post-Bulletin last October when it wanted to know how her life ended up this way.

Her first run-in with the law because of drunk driving appears to have been in January 2008 in Bowling Green, Ohio. She was caught in Wisconsin 11 months later.

In 2016, eight of her children between the ages of 11 years and 3 weeks old were in the house when police raided her home on suspicion of drugs and weapons. A loaded gun was under the cushion on the couch on which a 2-year-old was sleeping. Her husband was arrested.

No action was taken against Schleicher, who promised to stay away from her husband.

And the Post-Bulletin found that in almost every one of her encounters with the law, no resources were provided to her by child protection workers.

She moved to Rochester, promised to submit to testing and finish chemical dependency treatment, then had another baby, the paper said.

“I wasn’t able to continue because I’d just had the baby, and I had three small children at home,” Schleicher said. “I got them into a certified day care,” which then refused to take them because Schleicher is a conscientious objector of immunizations. She was raised that way, too, she said.

“On top of everything else,” Schleicher said, “there was just the adjustment of them coming back and living with me.”

Her 5-year-old, she said, “probably three days a week, they had to bring him home from school. It was a pretty uncontrollable situation with behaviors that I’d never experienced in my life.”

Schleicher claims Hennepin County Child Protection provided her with very few, if any, resources after returning the children to her care.

“I wasn’t offered any support services,” she said. “I contacted social services myself; everything I did, I did on my own. I was doing it all on the money I saved from working” at a restaurant in the Twin Cities area.

Schleicher claims she’s never accepted “welfare,” never received food stamps or used Section 8 housing. The property owner of the tidy home she rented in southeast Rochester confirmed it wasn’t subsidized housing but declined further comment.

An official with Hennepin County Child Protection didn’t follow through with a scheduled interview with the Post-Bulletin. But, a statement arrived the next day from the public relations office.

“We cannot comment on individual cases; however, the safety of children is our top priority. We complete a systemic review of all critical incidents in order to learn as a system what we can to maximize safety and well-being for children.”

The children are gone now — most of them, anyway.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Wietzel said he called Cook County prosecutors to suggest they keep in her custody and get professional medical attention for severe alcohol abuse.

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