Another felony DUI for Aspen woman
A local woman scheduled to go on trial for felony DUI next year was pulled over Sunday and arrested for driving under the influence for the fifth time since 2001, according to court and police records.
Leslee Francis, 56, later admitted to taking an anti-depressant before driving, and was found in possession of the same sedative that was in her system when she was pulled over for DUI on Mother’s Day in 2018 with her son in the car, according to an Aspen Police Department report.
Francis, who did not smell of alcohol and said she hadn’t had a drink in 13 years, was charged with felony DUI and misdemeanor careless driving.
Another motorist on Highway 82 west of Aspen called emergency dispatchers about 8:30 p.m. after seeing a Lexus driven by Francis traveling way under the speed limit, without headlights and repeatedly crossing the center yellow line into the oncoming traffic lane, according to the driver’s statement in the police report. At one point, near the Maroon Creek Bridge, Francis allegedly drove more than half-way into the on-coming, westbound lane and nearly collided head-on with another vehicle, which flashed its lights at her, according to the report.
“There have been several deaths on this highway because of head-on collisions (and) we all felt it was necessary to report this driver and get them off the road,” the witness wrote in his statement to police.
Aspen Police Officer Ryan Turner, who wrote in his report that he’s had several encounters with Francis over the past decade, said her speech was slow and that she appeared to be under the influence, according to the report.
“I confronted Francis and told her that I knew she was on something,” Turner wrote in his report. “Francis initially denied being under the influence but after I explained to her why I knew she was high she now admitted to me that she took an anti-depressant.”
Francis emptied her pockets for another police officer, which included one-half of a small pill that Francis said was a Tic-Tac, the report states. The officer, however, compared the pill’s markings on an internet site and found an exact match to Zolpidem, a sedative used to treat insomnia, according to the report.
Francis tested positive for Zolpidem after her last DUI arrest in May 2018, the report states. She is scheduled to go on trial for that felony DUI charge in April 2020, according to court records.
Francis was convicted of driving while ability impaired in 2001, DUI in 2006 and DUI in 2016, according to court records filed after the May 2018 arrest.
She also pleaded guilty to felony trespassing in August 2017 after she was caught on surveillance video breaking into her neighbor’s house and stealing seven pills used to treat high blood pressure. Francis was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation in November 2017 for the offense.
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