Culture

Woman livestreams alleged drunk driving on Periscope

Technically Incorrect: A Florida woman films herself allegedly driving drunk, actually declaring that she's drunk as she streams it to the Web through Periscope.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Not a good time to up Periscope. WTSP-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Over the years, we've tended to chronicle unwise uses of technology here at Technically Incorrect.

This one seems destined for at least this year's Hall of Fame.

Whitney Beall, aged 23, decided to film herself driving and post the footage to the livestreaming app Periscope. This live show was noticed by a few people whose reaction was, as WTSP-TV reports, to call 911.

The reason for this was that it didn't just look like Beall was drunk. Beall declared herself drunk as she drove and filmed.

As well as alerting police, kindhearted humans tried messaging Beall to tell her to stop. The police in Lakeland, Florida, decided to give chase. They didn't have a precise location for her, but they were told she was in a Toyota.

Beall announced during her Periscope performance that she was "driving home drunk." She mentioned it several times during the long minutes that she streamed.

As the 911 calls came in, one police officer decided to download Periscope -- it's not authorized for regular police use in Lakeland -- to try to glean as much information as possible.

Sgt. Gary Gross of the Lakeland Police Department told me that it took 20 minutes from when the first 911 alert was received for the police to track Beall down. He said that they followed her from "landmarks from her Periscope as she moved it around, such as shopping centers and buildings."

Gross told WTSP-TV that many officers didn't know what Periscope was. "They're like, 'What's Periscope?'," he said. "Luckily, one of our younger officers was able to figure it out."

Youth has its uses. And Beall was, in the public's as well as police eyes, endangering not only her own life but that of others.

The officers finally caught up with her as she allegedly ran straight into a curb without so much as braking.

Gross told me she appeared "highly intoxicated." Police say she failed the field sobriety tests. She was bonded out the next day, has been charged with DUI and is awaiting trial.

Why did she choose to do what she did? Sometimes, why is a question that will never have an answer.

The only grace in this case is that no one was hurt. This case comes in the week that families of two British men released a video of their lost kin. The two men drove at great speed while high on drugs and filmed the action.

Their car plowed into a church and they were both killed. Beall may feel lucky not to have endured a similar fate.