PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) - "Super drunk" charges against a Portage mother and teacher were dismissed in early January.
Leslie Buscher had pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor OWI charges out of Van Buren County -- operating with a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or more and operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under 16 years of age.
Those charges were dismissed Jan. 6.
Buscher was arrested after Van Buren County Sheriff's deputies found her at about 3:30 p.m. on July 15, 2011 in an SUV north of the intersection of County Road 652 and Red Arrow Highway.
The Sheriff's Department said Buscher was passed out and unresponsive, slumped over the steering wheel when they arrived on scene. There were two young children -- ages 2 and 4 -- in the car.
A party cup half full of vodka was found inside the vehicle, they said.
Authorities said her blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time was .40 -- five times over Michigan's legal limit of .08.
During a show cause hearing, Buscher's attorney successfully argued that the arrest was made on private property and that the officer had no right to make the arrest.
But authorities told 24 Hour News 8 that witnesses reported the car had only been on the side of the road for several minutes -- a short enough time to convince officers that she had driven it there while intoxicated.
The prosecutor is appealing the dismissal to the Circuit Court, officials told 24 Hour News 8.
Buscher was a fifth-grade teacher at Portage's Lake Center Elementary at the time of the incident, but was later transferred to Portage Northern High School.
According to Portage Public Schools spokesperson Tom Vance, Buscher is a tenured teacher. She now co-teaches special education for core subjects.
Vance said Bsucher was never suspended, and "she has been teaching all year at Northern High School without any issues." He said her assignment "has gone smoothly."
Vance also said he couldn't comment on how the dismissal of charges will or will not affect Buscher's position with the district.
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