Thursday May 2, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Police have charged a Silver Street woman with being intoxicated while driving with three children in her car.

Evelyn O'Brien, 53, pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to a first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, and three counts of reckless endangerment. She was released under the conditions she not drive, consume alcohol, and must submit to an alcohol test when requested by police.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Joshua Stemp, on April 27 at 9:11 p.m. he was headed west on Main Street when saw a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am stopped at a red light at the Depot Street intersection. When the light turned green the car went through the intersection then drifted towards oncoming traffic, jerking back when it was about a foot away from a collision.

Stemp said he conducted a traffic stop and noted the vehicle traveled slowly for about 15 feet along the shoulder of the road before stopping. He said the driver, O'Brien, smelled moderately of alcohol and there was an unopened 18 oz beer bottle next to her. In the car were three children, ages 10, eight, and nine. Two were O'Brien's grandchildren while another was a friend of the family.

O'Brien admitted to having had a couple beers beginning two hours before the stop with her last drink being half an hour before. Stemp wrote that O'Brien claimed to be unaware of drifting towards traffic but said if Stemp saw it then it happened. O'Brien's blood-alcohol content was recorded as .176 percent at the scene while two evidentiary tests taken at 10:35 p.m. showed it to be .162 and .169 respectively.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.