Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 9, 2014

Cops: Drunk woman drove kids

KINGSLEY — A Kingsley woman drove her three children home from child care with a blood-alcohol content twice the state’s legal limit, authorities said.

Jennifer Michelle Paulsen-Smith, 39, will face three counts of operating while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16 years old, said Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney.

Her blood-alcohol content tested at .17 after her arrest Tuesday, more than the .08 legal limit for driving. That’s exactly the threshold for Michigan’s “super drunk” charge, but Cooney said Paulsen-Smith instead is charged under a child endangerment law.

“It’s a little more severe,” he said.

Operating while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16 years old carries a penalty of five days to one year in jail, with at least two days to be served consecutively.

A police report states Paulsen-Smith told a Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputy that she drank two 16-ounce Mike’s Hard Lemonades while doing some lawn work and took a nap until she picked up her children, ages 12, 6, and 5.

A dispatcher received a call about a potential drunken driver with several children in the vehicle at about 3:40 p.m., the report states. A sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle on M-113 and followed it to Paulsen-Smith’s residence on Rahe Road.

The deputy smelled a strong odor of alcohol from Paulsen-Smith and noted her eyes were bloodshot and watery. The report states she performed poorly on three field sobriety tests and the deputy arrested her.

Paulsen-Smith’s children were placed in the care of a family friend.

Cooney said his office authorized charges on Thursday. Paulsen-Smith has yet to be scheduled for an arraignment in 86th District Court.



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