ST. GEORGE — Officers responded to a residence in Hurricane where a child who was allegedly left on the side of the road was being cared for by a stranger who made the late-night 911 call. The child’s mother was subsequently arrested for felony child abandonment.
On Wednesday, emergency dispatch received a call just after 10 p.m. from an individual reporting she was with a 7-year-old child who had “showed up at her residence,” the officer noted in the probable cause statement filed with the courts.
Police arrived and spoke to the caller, who said the child arrived and told her that her mother had dropped her off on the side of the road and left her there. Police say the caller also said the child’s mother was intoxicated and passed out in the vehicle that was parked on the side of the road, from what the little girl told her. The reporting party also said she went to search for the mother’s white Kia but was unable to locate the mother or any such vehicle, the report states.
Officers started a canvass of the area in search of the car and the driver, and several minutes later, one of the officers found the Kia parked on the shoulder of the roadway near 2460 West, which was several blocks from where the child was reportedly dropped off.
When the officer approached, he found the engine still running, with the driver, identified as 32-year-old Lakita Jo Pate, of LaVerkin, and a 3-year-old child inside. The officer also noted in the report that the driver was very emotional while speaking to police.
Police say Pate’s eyes were glassy and her speech was reportedly slurred, and they also detected a strong odor of alcohol as they removed the keys from the ignition to prevent her from driving away. The driver “seemed very disoriented about anything that had happened,” the officer wrote.
The report also states the suspect denied dropping her daughter off on the side of the road, and when officers inquired about the toddler in the car, the suspect allegedly told them the child was six years old.
Officers reached out to one of the woman’s family members and inquired about any drug or alcohol use, and also asked about any medical conditions that could have played a role in the incident. The family member said Pate had a drinking problem and was taking anti-anxiety medications.
An ambulance was dispatched to the scene to perform a well-check on the woman, but when EMTs arrived she reportedly declined to be assessed.
When asked, Pate reportedly said she had a few drinks. Pate was then told she was being arrested for DUI and asked to exit the vehicle, “which she would not do,” the report states, which is when officers stepped in to assist. The suspect became disorderly and was attempting to break free from the officers, efforts that were unsuccessful when she was handcuffed and placed in the patrol vehicle.
Due to the suspect being very intoxicated, police say they were unable to administer the field sobriety tests prior to transport. Pate was booked into jail facing multiple charges, including felony child abandonment, DUI and two counts of driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, each a misdemeanor.
On Thursday, the suspect was formally charged with the offenses.
Court records reveal the recent case is one of six arrests involving alcohol since 2015, including a recent arrest in April, as well as a DUI arrest in 2018 in Minersville.
During that arrest, the officer wrote “Lakita was handcuffed in front of her person, due to her being 8 1/2 months pregnant.”
Hurricane Police Officer Dan Raddatz told St. George News that following Wednesday’s arrest, officers reached out a family member who responded to the scene and took custody of both children.
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