Woman accused of driving drunk with child in car in Riverside

WLS logo
Friday, August 12, 2016

RIVERSIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- A mother from west suburban Lyons was charged with felony aggravated DUI after she was stopped by a Riverside police officer who found her 11-year-old daughter in the back seat of her car.

Ashley Coleman, 33, was pulled over near Harlem and Ogden avenues around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday after the officer saw her vehicle registration was suspended for traffic violations, police said.

The officer said Coleman's breath smelled strongly of alcohol, her eyes were bloodshot and her speech was slurred, police said. The officer asked her to step out of her car and take a field sobriety test, which she failed.

Further investigation showed Coleman's driver's license had been revoked for prior DUI convictions, police said. Coleman was arrested.

The officer walked back to her car and found her 11-year-old daughter inside, police said. Under Illinois law, it is a felony to drive drunk with a juvenile in the car.

"This is a very little used statute that many law enforcement officers are not even aware exists. It is time that officers who make DUI arrests seek the full charges under Illinois law when it comes to juveniles being in vehicles when their parents are drunk," said Thomas Weitzel, Riverside Chief of Police.

Coleman, of the 7800-block of West Ogden Avenue, was charged with felony aggravated DUI, felony aggravated driving while license revoked, felony aggravated DUI with a child under age 16 in the vehicle, endangering the life and health of a child and driving with registration suspended.

Police informed the Department of Children and Family Services of Coleman's arrest and asked the agency to open an investigation.