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Teen calls police to report she's driving drunk

BISMARCK (AP) -- Bismarck police say a New Year's Eve 911 call about a drunken driver was not surprising. The surprise was that it came from the teen driver, herself.

Lt. Randy Ziegler said the 17-year-old girl was "indeed intoxicated" but was able to give officers her location, shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

"She called 911 to report herself driving under the influence," Ziegler said. "I've never heard of such a thing happening, and neither has anyone here."

Officers found the girl in a parked car near downtown Bismarck, Ziegler said. She failed a sobriety test and was arrested for failing to have control of her vehicle while intoxicated.

The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, was not cited for drunken driving, Ziegler said.

"Her keys were in her purse and she was parked," Ziegler said. "She did tell us that she had been driving around for hours."

The call probably was a plea for help, he said.

"She told us her life was spiraling out of control and she had spent the majority of time drinking over the past two weeks," Ziegler said. "I think she was reaching out for help."

The girl was released to her parents on Thursday.

Ziegler said Bismarck police arrested one person on New Year's Eve for drunken driving, the lowest number in a few years. Eight people were arrested for drunken driving on the same day in 2007, he said.

The number of drunken driving arrests in Bismarck last year was 485, down from 601 in 2007.

Ziegler attributed the lower number of drunken driving arrests to a number of factors.

"But I'd like to think people are getting smarter and that they're finally getting it," he said.