A KSC student shares story of confusion so others can learn from her mistake

Brittany Ballantyne

Social Media Director


She thought she was just doing a friend a favor until the lights flashed in her rearview mirror and confusion and panic sunk in as she pulled to the side of the road.

An out-of-state junior at Keene State College learned about the alcohol transportation law in New Hampshire the hard way. The student, who was under the legal drinking age, was arrested after giving a friend who is of age a ride to the liquor store.

“It’s one thing getting pulled over, but they [authority figures] asked for all of us to get out of the car and especially with cars driving by, I was embarrassed and had no idea what was going on,” the student said.

A state liquor authority official had pulled her aside for signaling too late at an intersection.

According to the student, she had put her blinker on for at least a minute before turning when the light had changed. After being pulled over, the officer checked I.D.’s and let those of legal age leave the scene after confiscating the purchased alcohol that was in the backseat.

The student says she was put into the police car but is still confused as to why.  In the student’s home state of New York, there is no transportation law.

However, in New Hampshire, those under the legal drinking age cannot transport liquor of any kind unless with a parent, legal guardian, or legal age spouse present.

As far as the student knew, she was doing nothing wrong.

She said, “I had to get in the cop car with her [officer] in the back, and it was my first experience ever dealing with any of that so I was freaking out.”

The  junior said she cried and apologized to the officer but “didn’t know why any of it was happening.”

The confusion then spread to the student’s parents when she called them that night. The junior comes from a family full of law officers in New York state and none of the officers had heard of this law.

Both parents said they were concerned for their devastated daughter and called the Keene Police Department where the mother was connected to Liaison Officer Katie Corbett.

Corbett explained the law to the student’s parents and gave the student a visit where she informed her what the law was about and tried to break down the meaning of her arrest.

She also helped the mother get in contact with State Police and eventually the arresting officer.

The mother had nothing but good things to say about each of the officials she talked to and applauded them for their efforts in helping herself and her daughter understand.

“She took the time out to explain the law to my husband and I. We said we were very concerned that [their daughter] was far away and very upset,” the mother said. One main concern the mother had was how students like her daughter could get informed about  laws in their surrounding areas. “You don’t know about it until you get caught,” she said.

They spoke of her daughter and said, “[She] didn’t know the law, so she didn’t learn a lesson. She learned a law.”

According to Corbett, transportation arrests happen often. She said this most likely happens with students and visitors from different states who are unaware of these laws. The student’s mother said, “You can’t debate a law, the law’s the law. The very sad part about it is, as parents we felt that we totally guided [their daughter] through the process of taking her car from home to college.”

Instead, the student had her car in Keene for five days before it was taken away for 24 hours by police after her arrest. Her car was released with a $160 towing fee.

“We did everything we thought possible to set up our daughter for this experience,” she said. People the girl talked to from home and even Keene had not otherwise heard of the transportation law.

“Even the guy who towed my truck had no idea that it was a law,” the student said. Corbett, the student who was arrested, and the student’s mother all agreed that the next step to prevent this from happening to other KSC students is education. Residential Assistants on campus have reached out to Corbett and students in dorms will now have floor meetings prior to Pumpkin Festival to talk about safety tips and laws.

“Hopefully, we can get some of these laws and ordinances incorporated in these floor meetings to educate a lot, especially the new students that are freshmen from out of state,” Corbett said.

Other ideas Corbett had were talking with criminal justice classes, spreading the word and passing cases like this onto friends to inform them.

The student is also taking matters into her own hands by reaching out to others. She went home to meet with her high school driver ed teachers to speak about her experience.

She hopes they will inform the high school students that it’s a necessity to know the laws of the college town or city they’re applying to or attending in the future.

“I’m trying to turn this into a better thing,” she said.

The mother recommended that KSC include talking about laws in orientation programs, whether it be a presentation or a hand-out. Another idea the mother had was sending a letter or e-mail home to parents to call attention to rules and regulations.

“Please educate our children. And not just Keene State, every college. Whatever laws these kids really need to know and respect, they should be informed and that’s how they’re going to learn. Either that, or dramatic experience,” the mother said.

The student will appear in court and hopes the case will be dismissed; however, she understands the consequences of her situation.

“How do we get educated?” The mother asked.

She then said, “I guess by our mistakes. And that’s just not the best time to be educated.”

Because identifying the name of the student would add no news value to this story, The Equinox has withheld the student’s name.


      Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at


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