Judge chastises mom of 12-year-old driver for ‘pocketful of excuses’
November 2, 2010
A Gardnerville woman who admitted letting her 12-year-old son drive because she was too drunk was told Tuesday to stop making excuses for the “absolute evilness” of her behavior.
Misty McCollister, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse or neglect and faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine at her Dec. 14 sentencing.
She was arrested Oct. 17 near the intersection of El Dorado Drive and Village Way in Gardnerville after a Douglas County reserve deputy reported seeing a brown Buick headed north on Highway 395 weaving in and out of the travel lane and varying its speed.
The witness said he passed the vehicle and saw a child in the driver’s seat. According to the sheriff’s report, he and a deputy contacted McCollister after the vehicle stopped near her residence.
She reportedly told them she was an alcoholic who had relapsed.
A preliminary breath test revealed McCollister’s breath-alcohol content to be .299 percent, so high that she required a medical clearance to be taken into custody.
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A woman and a 7-year-old child also were in the vehicle.
McCollister told District Judge Dave Gamble on Tuesday that she had been drinking all that weekend. She said she invited an acquaintance to stay at her home because she was in the process of obtaining a temporary restraining order against her husband and she was afraid to be alone.
“He (the houseguest) kept pressuring me to take him home. He drove himself home, and we were in the car. I was pretty much passed out all the way. He pulled into his driveway and just left us there. There was another lady with us, but she didn’t have her glasses, so she refused to drive. I had my son get on my lap and drive us,” McCollister said.
“You just gave me the identities of three or four people whose fault this was, and none of it was yours,” Gamble said. “As long as you think this was anyone else’s fault but yours, I have no reason to show any leniency toward you, and you’ll get no good out of this.
“All that conspired from your perspective to force you to commit felony child abuse. That’s nonsense,” Gamble said. “Next time you’re in here, I hope I don’t hear a pocketful of excuses for the absolute evilness and irrationality of putting your son on your lap while you’re drunk and driving you home.”
McCollister, who is out on bail, is ineligible for probation unless a psychological evaluation determines she is at low risk to re-offend.
Gamble placed her under the supervision of the Department of Alternative Sentencing and told her she can’t drive or use alcohol or controlled substances.
McCollister is to appear Jan. 5 in East Fork Justice Court for sentencing on a second conviction of driving under the influence to which she plead guilty Oct. 20.