On October 10th, the Lakeland Police Department began receiving 911 calls from viewers of Periscope about a possible drunk driver using the social media APP Periscope to broadcast herself. Periscope is a live video streaming platform, (owned by Twitter). It allows you to video-record and broadcast to anywhere in the entire world. As a result of the video being streamed worldwide, numerous text messages were sent to the driver asking her to stop driving before she killed someone or herself.
One 911 caller stated the female was driving in the north Lakeland area but he could not provide specific location as he was watching the streaming video live. The female driver advised several times on Periscope that she was “drunk”, and that she had a flat tire. The subject advised several times that she was unaware of where she was.
As the caller was giving police dispatch the details from the video, the video was turned off several times and the caller was unable to provide a vehicle description other than it was a Toyota. This made locating the intoxicated driver more difficult for officers searching the surrounding area and with nothing more to go on other than the make of the car.
The Lakeland Police Department does not provide officers with access to Periscope as an authorized software tool and therefore they did not have the ability to monitor the driver’s actions. One officer took the initiative to utilize their personal account in an effort to locate the driver.
Based on what the officer could observe, and landmarks in the area from the streaming video, LPD officers located the driver eastbound on Carpenters Way. At this time, she was driving a 2015 Toyota Corolla, 4-dr with a flat left front tire.
Her vehicle abruptly hit the south curb with the right front tire/wheel just as officer’s initiated a traffic stop. Officers advised that the driver did not even brake after striking the curb. The subject vehicle stopped in the 1000 block of Carpenters Way at which time the female was identified as Whitney Marie Beall, 23 years old. Officers advised that they smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Beall, her speech was slow; her eyes were bloodshot and glossy. Bell also appeared to be disoriented. Beall failed the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and she refused the breathalyzer test. Beall was arrested by Officer Mike Kellner and charged with DUI. She was later transported to the Polk County Jail.
The streaming Periscope video highlights the dangers of driving while intoxicated through the eyes of a drunk and irresponsible young adult. The Lakeland Police Department is extremely thankful that this did not result in an accident and no one was injured as a result of her poor decision.