Atherton woman pleads guilty to drunken driving | February 15, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 15, 2012

Atherton woman pleads guilty to drunken driving

by Sandy Brundage

A 63-year-old Atherton woman who was arrested for driving under the influence during a chaotic exit from a Menlo Park parking plaza in 2010 pleaded no contest to two charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on Feb. 3.

Police said Margaret Brill rammed a car while backing out of a space in a Santa Cruz Avenue parking lot, causing a chain reaction that led to two parked cars pinning a man between them. Several bystanders forced the cars apart and freed the victim, according to police. He was taken to Stanford Hospital.

Without stopping, Ms. Brill pulled out onto Curtis Street before fishtailing on Santa Cruz Avenue, striking two more vehicles and leaving a woman with minor injuries. Her Mercedes finally stopped after leaping the center median into a tree. At that point bystanders took away her keys.

Two days later Atherton police arrested Ms. Brill after finding her staggering through a train station parking lot carrying a bag containing two bottles of wine, according to the district attorney's office.

Represented by defense attorney Jonathan McDougall, Ms. Brill pleaded no contest to causing injury while driving under the influence (DUI) and hit-and-run with injury. She admitted two prior DUI convictions.

Sentencing was scheduled for April 12. Ms. Brill will not serve more than six years in prison, the district attorney's office said. She has been out on $150,000 bail since April 2011.

The people who rescued the man pinned between cars later received commendations from the Menlo Park police department. Calling the three "heroes," Chief Bryan Roberts thanked Janet Digioia, Alex Raanes and Rob Silano for stopping the rampage.


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