Ocala, FL- An Ocala woman has been charged with child neglect and driving under the influence after she drove her car into a tree while her two year-old autistic son was sitting in her lap.
The accident happened late Saturday when 28 year-old Erica Peluso was driving southbound on Southwest 27th Ave and attempted to make a turn onto Southwest 10th Street. Police said as she was making the left she went drove into the wrong traffic lanes. She then drove into a tree in center median of the roadway, causing extensive damage to the front end of her car, WFTV reported.
When police arrived, witness to the crash, 18 year-old Ashton Johns was holding Peluso’s two year-old autistic son who Johns said was sitting in her lap at the time of the crash. While Johns was holding the youngest child, Peluso was trying to her six year-old son out of the back of her car.
The police report said the two boys both suffered lacerations to their head, but Peluso who is a nurse insisted they didn’t need to go to the hospital for medical treatment. The youngest boy was taken to the hospital and had to have his laceration stapled.
Police said that after the crash, Peluso was saying strange things and fussing at one of her son’s for putting his bloody hand print on the car, stating that she had just washed it earlier that day.
The police report also noted that she smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on her feet. She failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol level was .257, three times the legal limit, according to multiple sources.
Peluso was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The Department of Family Services was also called to investigate.
The children were returned to Peluso’s custody after she paid her $4,500 bond.
But she isn’t the only Marion County woman this week to driver drunk with a young child in her car. Gabrielle Trullender, 26, was arrested late Monday night on State Route 40.
Police observed Trullender speeding and swerving back and forth on the roadway. At one point she nearly hit a concrete median so police initiated a stop. The officer noticed she was unsteady on her feet and “swayed while standing.” The office also noted he had to “catch her several times due to her falling down,” News 13 reported.
Trullender was also driving with her two year-old son in the car and admitted to officers that she had “a large mixed vodka drink before she began driving. The child’s grandmother took care of the child while Trullender was taken to jail.
Driving under the influence has a host of penalties that on their own can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. But drunk driving with a minor child in a vehicle is a far more serious offense and carries and different set of penalties. Any parent facing these charges must hire a DUI attorney to work on their defense.