Convicted Drunken Driver Who Blamed Altoids for Triggering Car's Ignition Interlock Gets 16 More Years in Prison

A Maryland mother who killed two men while driving drunk is going back to prison for violating her probation after admitting she blamed breath mints for triggering the ignition interlock in her car.

After serving four years of her sentence for killing two men in a truck on the American Legion Bridge in 2009, Kelli Loos got out of prison early.

Since then, she's blown into her ignition interlock 10 times and had it lock her ignition after detecting alcohol on her breath, in violation of her probation. She came up with the Altoids defense, claiming the breath mints caused false readings.

Judge Joseph Dugan called her a liar and a drunk and sentenced her to 16 more years in prison, saying it’s necessary to protect the community.

“It’s a safety issue,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “She can’t control her own conduct. Do I hope there will be a time in the future, maybe a few additional years, she’ll gain greater insight into her own illness and her ability to come back into the community as a safe person? Do I hold out the hope that there may be sometime in the future where placement in a rehab program or even our own drug court is appropriate? But it’s not today.”

Noah's Law, which went into effect in Maryland last year, requires drivers convicted of many alcohol-related offenses to use an ignition interlock to make sure they don't have alcohol on their breath when they try to start their cars. The law is named for Officer Noah Leotta, who was killed by a drunken driver at a sobriety checkpoint.

Prosecutors say the ignition interlock is one of the best ways to protect the community from drunken drivers.

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