Drunk driving mothers deserve jail time

Published Dec 18, 2013 at 5:04 am (Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm)

Recently, two very disturbing, very similar, incidents occurred within days of each other in Peters Township.

The first incident took place on Dec. 7, when Claysville resident Elizabeth Ann Burwell was pulled over on Venetia Road around 8:15 p.m. Her vehicle had crossed the center line four times, and Peters Township police Officer Patrick Mazzotta could smell alcohol. According to Mazzotta, he asked Burwell to put her vehicle in park, and she insisted it was, although it was actually still in gear. The woman not only resisted arrest, but reached for a knife under the seat.

The most horrifying part? Her 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were in the vehicle.

The icing on the cake? She was driving with a suspended license.

Then, on Dec. 12, Peters Township police were called to McMurray KinderCare on Wilhaven Drive around 6 p.m. because employees at the day care reported that a woman appeared intoxicated when picking up a 3-year-old child. Somehow, she managed to get the child into her vehicle, drive away and nearly run over a day care employee in the parking lot.

The joke can be made that these women are candidates for Mother of the Year, but this is no laughing matter. It is absolutely one thing to be irresponsible and put themselves – not to mention every other vehicle on the road – at risk by getting behind the wheel drunk, but driving intoxicated with children in the vehicle takes things to a whole other level.

The fact that these two incidents were reported just days apart makes us wonder – and fear – how often it happens without the drivers being caught.

It is unclear why Burwell’s license was suspended, but it is clear that that punishment doesn’t work.

In our opinion, the only fitting punishment for these women is jail time. It is horribly unfortunate that these innocent children were put at risk, and one can only imagine what their home lives are like. Thankfully, the stories ended where they did and not with an accident or fatality, which was a very real possibility. Putting these irresponsible women behind bars for a considerable amount of time is the only way to ensure that they do not get drunk, pack their kids up and drive again.

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