28-year-old, Sarah Valeriano was arrested for punching a medic in the nose while under the influence of beer and vanilla extract.
28-year-old, Sarah Valeriano was arrested for punching a medic in the nose while under the influence of beer and another more unusual substance. Officers discovered eight ounces of vanilla extract and a Fat Tire beer were to blame. The beer has a higher than average alcohol content and is a favorite among partying teenagers and college-goers. Cops were called in on a report of a disturbance at the 1400 block of Cimarron Drive in Lafayette. The call came after Sarah, intoxicated, began pounding on the walls, yelling that she had wet her bed. The caller, scared, phoned police to help contain the woman.
Officers said Valeriano appeared to be very drunk by the time they arrived and was unsteady on her feet. It was difficult for the woman to stand, and a medic helped her up. The person who called confirmed Valeriano had consumed vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract has a minimum of 35 percent alcohol, and some bottles contain even more. The extract doesn’t just rely on alcohol to pull out the essential flavors and fragrances from the vanilla bean and suspend them in a stable solution—it’s also required by law to have an alcohol content of at least this minimum.
This isn’t the first time vanilla has gotten someone in trouble with the law. 46-year-old Carolyn Kesel from Seneca Falls in upstate New York was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving after downing a bottle of the cooking agent in 2015 which contained 41% alcohol. Kesel, who was acting erratically and immediately believed to be drunk by officers was breathalyzed and found to have a blood alcohol content of .26%, three times over the legal limit. Her unusual choice of beverage was no accident.
Vanilla extract is easily accessible at local grocery stores, affordable and an easy alternative for those who, for one reason or another, will not consume traditional products. For example, those who are determined to drive but concerned they’ll smell like liquor might choose this alternative to smell like vanilla instead. And, it’s easy for kids to get a hold of the extract in their parents’ pantries. Chris Thomas, a mental health and drug counselor says, “Both kids and adults use it. It smells like a vanilla drink and no one would know the difference.”
In the Lafayette case, law enforcement contacted paramedics, who managed to get Sarah into an ambulance. However, once inside, the girl got very angry and punched the medic in the nose. At that point, Valeriano was arrested on suspicion of second degree assault, obstructing the peace and resisting arrest. Valeriano was examined at Good Samaritan Medical Center before eventually being released and immediately booked into the Boulder County Jail to sober up and apologize to the medic. She remains in custody as she awaits a bond hearing and a formal filing of charges.
Sarah had originally been introduced to a charge of resisting arrest when she pleaded guilty to it back in 2014 after having been handcuffed and charged with theft. Back then, she got off easy, hit with eighteen months of probation. Her sentencing this time around may be harsher.