Nearly 20 years after her two toddlers died when she fell asleep and left them in her car on a hot June day in 1995, Jennie Bain Ducker has gone awry of the law again, this time for drunk driving.
Ducker, 40, entered a guilty plea before General Sessions Judge Bill Locke on Thursday to the charge of DUI. She was given the standard 48 hours in jail, 11-month, 29-day probationary period, $350 plus court costs fine, attendance in DUI school, and one-year loss of driving privileges.
Her sentence comes after police came to a North Spring Street residence to answer a disturbance call. When they arrived they found Ducker behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Astro van with two men outside the vehicle yelling for her to turn off the engine. When Ducker got out of the van to talk to police, officers noticed a smell of alcohol and an unsteadiness about her.
“She was unsteady on her feet and couldn’t stop jerking,” said McMinnville Police Sgt. Kenneth Seagraves.
Ducker claimed she drank four beers since that morning, but she blew a .086 when given a field breath test. In Tennessee, a reading of .08 is enough for legal intoxication.
Her arrest comes just short of 20 years after her children, Devin and Dustin Ducker, both under age 2, died inside her car outside a local motel where Ducker was visiting. The children died from exposure to the heat inside the closed car. They were found still strapped into their car seats.
An investigation revealed Ducker had gone to the motel during the pre-dawn hours to meet friends and had fallen asleep inside the room. She had not told her friends the children were with her. By the time she awoke around noon, the children were already dead.
She was ultimately convicted of aggravated child abuse and sentenced to 18 years in prison. She ended up serving just over 11 years and was released in 2007.
Ducker flattened her sentence while in prison so she owes no time for a parole violation.