With three children in car, women arrested for DUIA 24-year-old woman from Two Harbors is on supervised release after being charged with driving drunk with three children in the car when she rammed a tree with her SUV Friday night.
By: News-Chronicle, Lake County News Chronicle
A 24-year-old woman from Two Harbors is on supervised release after being charged with driving drunk with three children in the car when she rammed a tree with her SUV Friday night.
Mistee Rose Neft was charged Tuesday with three gross misdemeanors, including driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment. The Nissan Pathfinder she drove apparently hit the tree at 40 mph near 12th Avenue and Seventh Street. The impact was enough to deploy the airbags.
According to the complaint filed in Lake County District Court, Neft admitted to police after the accident that she had been drinking before picking up the children and attempting to drive to her boyfriend’s house. She was sitting across the street from the SUV with the children when police arrived about 9:50 p.m. Friday.
The children had minor injuries and were released to relatives later that night, police said. Neft, who complained of a sore wrist, was sent to Lake County Jail.
In addition to the gross misdemeanor charge of child endangerment, she faces two gross misdemeanors related to drunken driving: criminal vehicular operation and second-degree DUI test refusal. She also faces a misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct with police and four petty charges for seatbelt violations. No one was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, police were told.
Two Harbors Assistant Police Chief Kevin Ruberg said it’s a “rare occurrence” to find children in the car in a DUI arrest and it substantially raises the penalty possibilities. “It adds to the aggravating factors,” he said.
One of the children was her son; the other two were her niece and nephew.
According to the complaint:
Her brother, who arrived at the hospital just before midnight, said the two had been drinking at his home since about 5 p.m. but he thought she was fine to drive after three beers.
The brother also smelled strongly of alcohol, police said. He had been driven to the hospital in a squad car once it was confirmed he was the father of the other two children.
Neft said she had swerved to miss a dog in the street and hit the tree. Police reported they found no marks on the street to indicate she took any evasive action.
She told the first officer on the scene that she had consumed five beers after he noticed slurred speech, watery eyes and the smell of alcohol. She told another officer on the scene later that she had seven beers and six shots, the police report says. She was given a portable breath test and it registered .267, more than triple the legal driving limit of .08. An open container of alcohol was found in the SUV.
Police said she had been uncooperative at the hospital, refusing to allow a blood test and not signing medical treatment forms for her and her son.
Neft was released from jail after court Tuesday. Her next court appearance is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 7.
The top three charges have maximum penalties of a year in jail and $3,000 in fines for each.
The disorderly conduct charge carries 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The four seatbelt violations have $300 in fines for each.
Because of the aggravating factors, the end penalty could vary from statute.
Neft pleaded guilty last fall in Lake County District Court to a disorderly conduct charge and was fined and given a year of probation. She’s had seven speeding charges since 2002.