Mom admits letting 12-year-old drive |

Mom admits letting 12-year-old drive

by Sheila Gardner

A 35-year-old Gardnerville woman said Wednesday she made a "stupid mistake" allowing her

A 35-year-old Gardnerville woman said Wednesday she made a “stupid mistake” allowing her 12-year-old son to steer her car on Highway 395 because she was too drunk.

Misty McCollister waived a preliminary hearing in East Fork Justice Court and is to appear Nov. 2 in district court.

Her lawyer, Kris Brown, said McCollister planned to plead guilty to attempted child abuse.

She had been charged with two counts of child abuse and permitting an unauthorized minor to drive after her arrest Sunday at 6 p.m.

McCollister told Judge Pro Tem Paul Gilbert she had been drinking since the night before and had to take a friend home.

“I let one of my sons sit on my lap and drive,” she said.

A 7-year-old boy was in the back seat and the friend was in the passenger’s seat. In exchange for her guilty plea, the district attorney agreed to drop the unauthorized minor driving charge.

She pleaded guilty Wednesday to a second driving under the influence offense. Her prior conviction was Nov. 14, 2008, in East Fork Justice Court.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 5, 2011, for the DUI charge at the conclusion of the district court case.

She was stopped in Gardnerville near the intersection of El Dorado Drive and Village Way 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 reserve deputy 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.

She remained in Douglas County Jail pending bail consideration after her district court appearance Nov. 2.