Friday, June 19, 2009

Women Facing Reckless Endangerment Charges

Two Cookeville women were arrested by police this week on charges of reckless endangerment after authorities found several children in their vehicle either unrestrained or improperly belted in. According to a report by Officer Shannon Smith, the case began Tuesday morning when a concerned citizen called police to report that small children had been seen inside a moving vehicle without any seatbelts on. Smith located that vehicle on E. Spring St. and initiated a traffic stop. He says that the passenger in the car was an adult, who was not wearing a seat belt, and that the driver admitted to him that she did not have proper insurance on the vehicle. The passenger, Smith said, turned out to be the mother of four children that were also found in the vehicle. She was identified as 21-year-old Heather Alyea of Paran Rd. Police say the driver was 23-year-old Ashley Marie Wright of Rice Circle. Smith says Alyea's two-year-old in the middle of the back seat was not in a car seat and was not belted in; a five-month-old was in a car seat, but was not properly restrained; and an 18-month old was in another car seat, but not one that was designed for infants. Most surprising, according to Smith, was that the mother was holding a laundry basket in the front seat and -- beneath that laundry basket, between her legs -- was another 18-month old baby. Smith called the Department of Children's Services to do an investigation and also obtained two additional car seats, after which he assisted the mother in the proper installation of the seats. The children were then transported from the scene, but their mother and her friend were arrested, each on four counts of reckless endangerment with bond set at $5,000 apiece. They'll be in court on June 22.