Probation granted for mom who had 12-year-old drive
January 11, 2011
A 35-year-old Gardnerville woman who admitted letting her 12-year-old drive because she was too drunk received five years probation Tuesday and was ordered to continue her alcohol abuse treatment and counseling.
District Judge Dave Gamble suspended a 12-32-month sentence for Misty McCollister and told her to stay out of casinos and bars and to complete parenting classes.
He also ordered her to abstain from alcohol.
Gamble granted McCollister probation so she can continue intensive treatment for alcoholism.
McCollister’s lawyer, Kris Brown, said her client wanted to participate in a three-month inpatient treatment program and move into transitional housing.
Her children are living in Arizona with her father.
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McCollister 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.
The legal limit is .08 for driving in Nevada.
A woman and a 7-year-old child also were in the vehicle.
McCollister pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse or neglect and faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“I believe out of every negative situation, some positive comes,” McCollister said Tuesday. “I have had an opportunity to take a deeper look at myself and see the problems I have to work on.”
She told Gamble she participates in nine hours a week of out-patient counseling, attends two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a day and works with her sponsor.
“This isn’t a child abuse or neglect case in the classic sense of the word, because of some intentional act of a parent,” Gamble said. “This is a terrible alcohol addiction you have. This is a lifelong issue with you and a lifelong abstinence from alcohol for you.”
He told McCollister he was hard on her at her arraignment in December because “you didn’t see the terrible, terrible danger you put your children and that lady and other people in.”
“I was really worried for your future with your children. The main thing that needs to change is alcohol. For some people, they can’t use it forever. That has to be the truth for you – forever,” Gamble said.
“It will be,” McCollister said.
Brown said when McCollister was arraigned, there was concern that she didn’t take full responsibility for her action.
“Counseling has opened her eyes to full responsibility. She’s dealt with the horror of all the things that could have happened, that she would have been responsible for,” Brown said. “It was a serious offense and could have had very tragic consequences.”
Brown said McCollister’s goal is to reunite with her children, possibly in Arizona.
Gamble also ordered her to follow her Child Protective Services case management plan.