When police responded to a call about a woman passed out behind the wheel of her car at a Riverside, Illinois, gas station, they came upon a disorderly scene.
Tasha Lynn Schleicher, a 41-year-old mother, was alert and sitting in her car - but it seemed she had tried to fill the tank with kerosene instead of gasoline. An open bottle of Crown Royal whiskey sat in the passenger seat, police said, and her eyes were glassy and bloodshot.
Schleicher wasn't wearing shoes, and when she stepped out of the vehicle her clothes were "literally falling off," police said in a news release. She told the officers that she had 11 kids and couldn't find them. She refused to take a sobriety test, and so the officers arrested her, police said.
Schleicher, of New Hope, Minnesota, is charged with two counts of felony aggravated drunken driving, two counts of misdemeanor drunken driving, driving without vehicle insurance, and driving with a license revoked for drunken driving, police said. She is also charged with transporting open alcohol while driving.
Her arrest in Riverside - located 14 miles west of Chicago - is the latest addition to a long list of drunken driving arrests and convictions. She has had six prior drunken driving arrests in six states: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, California, Oregon and Minnesota. The earliest arrest was in Kentucky in 2007, police said.
She is also wanted on three out-of-state warrants in Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon, according to police.
On Monday, Riverside police searched for the 11 children that Schleicher allegedly claimed she was looking for. Witnesses, including the gas station attendant, told police that Schleicher was the only person in the car. Still, Schleicher insisted she had her children with her, police said.
Schleicher does have 11 children, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, which reported that most of the children had at different points been taken away from her through various child custody actions across several states because of her drunken driving offenses. They were all returned to her in August 2017.
Then, last October, Schleicher was arrested after driving drunk with five of the children in her car at highway speeds before veering into a median cable barrier near Rochester, Minnesota, according to the Post-Bulletin. Police said that Schleicher was found at the scene breast-feeding her baby.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel called Monday's arrest "one of the worst impaired driving arrests our agency has ever made."
"[Schleicher's] history of six prior DUI's in six states, with three outstanding warrants from various states speaks to her transient nature," Weitzel said in a statement. "Due to her criminal background of intoxication, I instructed officers to contact Child Protective Services in Minnesota . . . and to contact our Illinois DCFS."
Schleicher on Monday could not explain to police why she was in Illinois and continued to insist that she was with her children, police said. Officers contacted authorities in New Hope to try to verify that the children were not in Illinois. Minnesota Child Protective Services confirmed to Riverside police that Schleicher's children had been taken away from her after the October drunken driving arrest, police said.
While in custody, Schleicher told officers that she was pregnant, bleeding and having a miscarriage, according to police. She was escorted to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois. Hospital staff administered a pregnancy test and found that her claim was untrue and that she was not suffering from any medical condition, police said.