Florida woman Periscopes while drunk driving
LAKELAND, FL - Lakeland police believe a local woman is lucky to be alive today after going on a drunk driving trip she recorded and broadcast live on her own phone. On Saturday, LPD took in 911 calls about a possible drunk driver using the social media App Periscope to broadcast herself.
Periscope is a live video streaming platform, (owned by Twitter). It allows you to video-record and broadcast to anywhere in the entire world.
As a result of the video being streamed worldwide, numerous messages on the app and personal text messages were sent to the driver asking her to stop driving before she killed someone or herself.
"You hear her saying she's drunk," said Sgt. Gary Gross, Lakeland Police spokesman.
"I got to tell you I was a little shocked. After 30 years of law enforcement I hadn't seen anything like this before."
One 911 caller stated that the female was driving in the north Lakeland area, but he could not provide a specific location as he was watching the streaming video live. The female driver, identified as Whitney Beall, 23, advised several times on Periscope that she was "drunk", "f*&*ing drunk", and that she had a flat tire. Beall said several times that she was unaware of where she was.
As the caller was giving police dispatch the details from the video, the video was turned off several times and the caller was unable to provide a vehicle description other than it was a Toyota. This made locating Beall more difficult for officers searching the surrounding area.
LPD doesn't provide officers with access to Periscope as an authorized software tool and they didn't have the ability to monitor her actions. One officer took the initiative to download it and open up a personal account in an effort to locate the driver.
"They're like what's periscope. Luckily, one of our younger officers was able to figure it out," Gross added.
Officers were then able to pinpoint landmarks in the area from the streaming video and they located Beall eastbound on Carpenters Way. They said she was driving a 2015 Toyota Corolla, 4-door with a flat left front tire.
Officers witnessed her hit the south curb with the right front tire just as they initiated a traffic stop. They said Beall didn't even brake after striking the curb. Her vehicle stopped in the 1000 block of Carpenters Way.
Officers said they smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Beall, her speech was slow; her eyes were bloodshot and glossy. She also appeared to be disoriented.
Beall failed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and refused the breathalyzer test. She was arrested by Officer Mike Kellner and charged with DUI. She was later transported to the Polk County Jail.
The incident has sparked LPD to train their officers on how to use Periscope and emerging technology, so they'll be ready when something else like this occurs.
"It's probably technology like anything else we'll look at and probably have selected individuals within the police department will be trained to be able to use it," Gross said.
The Lakeland Police Department Contributed to this report