Atherton DUI driver sentenced to prison | September 26, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - September 26, 2012

Atherton DUI driver sentenced to prison

by Sandy Brundage

A guilty plea and an apology weren't enough to keep a 63-year-old Atherton woman out of prison. A judge sentenced Margaret Brill to five years for a drunken driving rampage through downtown Menlo Park that left two people injured, according to the district attorney's office.

Police said Ms. Brill rammed a car while backing her green Mercedes out of 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 to free him, according to police. The man suffered a broken leg and kneecap.

Without stopping, Ms. Brill pulled out and careened down Santa Cruz Avenue, striking two more vehicles, leaving one woman with facial cuts after the collision forced her car on to the sidewalk. Driving the wrong way down the street, the Mercedes finally stopped after leaping the center median into a tree. Bystanders cornered the car and yanked the key out of the ignition. Police said her blood alcohol level was 0.29 percent.

Two days later Atherton police arrested Ms. Brill as she wandered through a train station parking lot, muddy and intoxicated, carrying two bottles of wine, according to the district attorney's office.

Earlier this year Ms. Brill pleaded no contest to causing injury while driving under the influence (DUI) and hit-and-run with injury for the December 2010 incident. She admitted multiple prior DUI convictions.

Margaret Brill's husband reportedly told the court during the Sept. 19 sentencing hearing that his wife "is not a bad person, but has a bad disease."

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Craig Parsons ordered that she pay $85,000 to those injured during the incident as well as various fees to Menlo Park and other agencies. She received 59 days credit for time served, having spent most of those in a treatment program.