Driver arrested for alleged DUI, drugs with 5-month-old in car

Composite image | Photo by Stelsone/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A woman was arrested Saturday in St. George for multiple alleged felony offenses following a traffic stop where officers suspected the suspect was driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to charging documents filed with the court, shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, an officer pulled behind a vehicle traveling north on Dixie Drive to conduct a traffic stop after observing the driver unable to maintain their lane.

The driver was “swerving in and out of her lane by over half a car length, nearly missing vehicles driving next to her,” the officer recounted in the report.

The officer also noted that he saw the woman make furtive movements toward the passenger’s side of the vehicle, appearing as though she was attempting to conceal something.

When the officer turned on his emergency lights, he said the driver “looked at me through her driver side mirror and continue to drive” for nearly 2 miles before she pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

The driver told police she was weaving across the roadway and then didn’t pull over because she was “messing with her phone” and failed to see the officer’s lights.

The officer noted in his report that the driver’s eyes appeared to be bloodshot and watery and that her speech was slurred as she continued “struggling to formulate her sentences.” The woman also told the officers she had her 5-month-old daughter with her.

Teanna Kathleen Hinkle, 37, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, April 25, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The officer returned to his patrol vehicle to run the woman’s driver’s license through dispatch and discovered multiple prior drug involvements with police and prior DUI arrests, along with active warrants out of Washington County for her arrest.

Once backup arrived, the officer told the driver, identified as Teanna Kathleen Hinkle, 37, of St. George, that he was “concerned with what he was seeing,” which is when he asked her to step out of the car for a field sobriety test, which she reportedly failed.

Hinkle was taken into custody on the warrants and the DUI initially. She also allegedly admitted to police there were open containers of alcohol in the vehicle, and officers subsequently found six open containers during a search of the car.

Also during the search, the report stated, officers found a measurable amount of a white crystal-like substance consistent with methamphetamine, multiple controlled substance prescriptions of varying types, as well as marijuana and paraphernalia.

The officer also noted that once he was inside of the vehicle, he detected a strong odor of marijuana. “The baby was inside of the vehicle and was exposed to it,” he noted in the report.

Moreover, the drugs and paraphernalia were reportedly found in places easily accessible to the child, thus violating Utah’s child endangerment code.

Later, when the officer was attempting to lift the infant from the car seat to remove her from the vehicle, he discovered it was not secured to the rear seat of the car.

Hinkle was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked on multiple charges, including  five third-degree felony offenses: three counts of possession of a controlled substance, cause or permit child to be exposed to a controlled substance and failure to respond to an officer’s command. She also faces driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, open container of alcohol in the vehicle and paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, each a misdemeanor.

The suspect remains in custody on $10,000 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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