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Published: 11/28/2013 - Updated: 4 months ago

Police: Mothers imperiled kids

Pair accused of extreme drunken driving with children along

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Garcia Garcia
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With their blood-alcohol levels well above the legal limit, two women were arrested this week for drunken driving and child endangering.

Speelman Speelman
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During her first blood-alcohol test, Yolanda Garcia blew a 0.231, said Washington Township police Officer Eric Hart, who stopped the 24-year-old woman on Tuesday morning for speeding.

Inside the car were her 6 and 7-year-old children.

“The kids were sound asleep on the back seat,” Officer Hart said.

“They were fine. ... The kids didn’t have a clue as to what was going on.”

On Sunday evening, Toledo police Officer Tanja Farrell was on routine patrol when she was flagged down by a man who was following a suspected drunken driver.

Officer Farrell continued to follow the car, watching the driver make wide turns and nearly crash into several cars parked on Tetherwood Drive in West Toledo, he said.

Behind the wheel was Micaela Speelman, 28, who ended up failing three field-sobriety tests, according to a Toledo police report.

When the officer asked Ms. Speelman, whose 6-year-old son was in the car, to take a breath test at the Scott Park District Station, she obliged and registered a 0.289, police said.

The legal blood-alcohol content limit for drivers 21 and older is 0.08.

“It’s bad enough when you drink and drive and it’s just you in the car, but actions like that affect others like your children and other people who are out on the road,” Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.

“It becomes a more precarious crime and can have very tragic consequences.”

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Lucas County Children Services officials said Wednesday that they were not aware of either incident.

Ms. Garcia of 2815 D St. is charged with a variety of traffic offenses, including driving without a license and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and two counts of child endangering.

Officer Hart said he stopped Ms. Garcia at about 3 a.m. on Suder Avenue and Villamar Road because she was allegedly driving 54 mph in a 40-mph zone.

After a quick check of her license plate, he said, he found she did not have a driver’s license.

Ms. Garcia, who reportedly smelled of alcohol and was slurring her words, told the officer she had not been drinking and that she was on her way home from a friend’s house.

She told the officer she thought she was on Bancroft Street and said she was slurring her words because of her tongue ring.

After doing “very poor” on field-sobriety tests, Officer Hart had Ms. Garcia do a breath test on a portable unit where she registered 0.231.

Officer Hart let the woman call her brother and mother to pick up the children, the officer said.

About an hour after the initial traffic stop, she blew a 0.2; she was booked into the Lucas County jail.

She was arraigned Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court, where she pleaded not guilty to all of her charges.

Her bond was set at $30,000; according to court records, she posted a $20,000 surety bond and was ordered to be released from the jail because of overcrowding.

She’s scheduled for a Dec. 13 trial.

Ms. Speelman was arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court on Monday and ordered to remain in the jail in lieu of $10,000 bond for endangering children and driving under the influence.

She posted a $5,000 surety bond, according to court records, and was released from the jail Monday night.

Local police departments have warned motorists for weeks to use good judgment if they are out having an adult beverage or two (or three).

More police, deputies, and highway patrol troopers will be on the roads looking for drunken drivers.

“Be careful,” Sergeant Heffernan said.

“This is the time of year where a lot of alcohol is consumed and there will be a lot of police out there ... looking for impaired drivers.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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