East Texas lawmen say drunk drivers taking kids along for the ride
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Some East Texans are choosing to drive drunk, while taking children along for the ride.
"If detected by an officer, you can rest assured that we're not going to look the other way, that action is going to be taken," said Angelina County Constable Pct. 1 Tom Selman.
In fact, it was just last week that Constable Selman didn't look the other way when he pulled Robert Berry over.
"The guy was driving on the other side of the road and he almost hit another car head-on," said Selman.
The Constable then realized there was a 1-year-old boy in the car.
Berry failed a breath test, but the Constable said it's not the first time he's found kids in the car with a drunk driver.
"Over the course of the last six or eight months I believe I've arrested three different individuals who've had child passengers in the car while they're intoxicated," said Selman.
Just this year, KTRE has reported nine people who have either been arrested or sentenced for drunk driving with a child passenger.
Donnie Nixon teaches a state-approved DWI class at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of deep East Texas.
She's had clients that drove drunk with kids in the car.
"I think the main reason is because they're not thinking about it and they're under the influence, so therefore, their perception is distorted," said Nixon. "They feel capable of driving, so they feel capable of carrying their children."
If you get behind the wheel drunk with a child, you face a stiffer punishment. On the first offense, the charge goes from a misdemeanor to a felony.
"They don't have a say-so about where they are or what the situation is, it's pretty sad really that we have that level of irresponsibility going on here in town," Selman said.
If caught, violators could face up to two years in state jail.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, officers arrested eight people for driving while intoxicated in Angelina County. One person was arrested for boating while intoxicated.
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