Mother-of-four’s seemingly mistaken DUI arrest leads to brain tumor diagnosis

Julie Cunningham Mistaken DUI FT

After dropping her children off at daycare on the morning of July 31, Texas woman Julie Cunningham lost consciousness and struck a fire hydrant with her car. She was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving under the influence, even though she blew a 0.0 on a breathalyzer. Days later, doctors told her the episode was likely caused by her undiagnosed lemon-sized brain tumor.

“It’s an interesting way to find out about a brain tumor,” Julie’s mother, Lynda Halvorson, told WFAA. “My daughter is not a drinker. She doesn’t take any sort of meds. So that was so out of character that we knew instantly that couldn’t be what it was.”

After she was arrested on July 31, Julie spent the night in jail before her brother bailed her out. She now doesn’t have any memory of the accident, her arrest or the jail time — and her mom is thankful for that. Lynda said of her daughter, a Navy veteran, “It’s one piece of trauma she doesn’t need to be thinking about.”

Almost immediately after doctors discovered the tumor, Julie underwent surgery to remove it. Her mother said the tumor is non-cancerous, but did contain “abnormal cells.” Julie should be able to leave the hospital by the end of the week, but recovery will take much longer.

A Frisco police spokesperson said they are awaiting toxicology results and have not yet filed a DUI case. A GoFundMe account set up for Julie and her four children has raised nearly $6,000.


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