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Ferndale woman pleads guilty to super drunk driving in train crash

A Ferndale woman who drove her Jeep along the railroad tracks — where it got stuck and hit by a train after she got out of the vehicle — has pleaded guilty to “super drunk” driving and faces sentencing Thursday.

Noel M. Delahaye, 28, pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this month in the Dec. 14 accident after a couple of appearances in Ferndale 43rd District Court, records show.

“She would have died if she had been in her vehicle when the train hit it,” said Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson.

Police said Delahaye got out of her Jeep and called police shortly before a train traveling north on the tracks came along and struck the vehicle about 10:30 p.m.

Delahaye was arrested following an investigation and a field sobriety test.

Police said she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent — more than twice the legal limit for drunken driving in Michigan.

Under the state super drunk driving law a driver faces increased penalties if convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 or more.

Delahaye has no prior drunken driving or criminal convictions on her record.

Still, at her 1 p.m. sentencing Thursday before Ferndale 43rd District Judge Joseph Longo, Delahaye faces mandatory completion of an alcohol abuse treatment program.

She also faces up to six months in jail and a one-year suspension of her license.

Police have said that it was snowing heavily the night the accident happened and that Delahaye was disoriented, possibly believing she was turning onto a street from Nine Mile Road near Hilton. Instead she turned north onto the railroad tracks and drove for about a half mile until her Jeep got stuck, police said.

Delahaye called 911, got Ferndale police and incorrectly told them she was Birmingham. Ferndale police transferred the call to Birmingham police, who determined Delahaye in Ferndale.

A short time later, Ferndale police got a call that a train had collided with a vehicle that turned out to be the suspect’s Jeep, police said.

Ferndale officers found Delahaye at the corner of Pleasant and Wolcott streets. The train had struck her vehicle and pushed it more than a quarter mile before coming to a stop.

OAKLAND PRESS on 03/20/17

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