ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Johns County deputy called to investigate a car stopped in the middle of County Road 210 with the door open during the lunch hour Monday ended up arresting the 46-year-old driver on charges of DUI and, because her 7-year-old son was in the passenger seat of the car, negligence.
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office arrest report said the arriving deputy saw the car being driven off, then swerve toward a ditch. He pulled over the car and wrote in the report that the driver's speech was extremely slurred. When the woman, later identified as Nicole Johnson, tried to get out of the car, he wrote that she fell several times and could not be left alone unassisted.
The deputy noted there was an open bottle of vodka next to the driver's seat and, when he asked Johnson if she'd been drinking it, she said yes. He also wrote that when asked why she couldn't stand on her own, she said it was because she was drunk.
The report said Johnson refused to take a field sobriety test, saying only she wanted to take her son home, so she was arrested and charged with DUI.
"You shouldn't put your children at risk and everyone else that's on the road," St. Johns County resident Mike Primeaux said. "Thankfully, the child is safe. I hope this is, sort of, a wake-up call for that lady."
Johnson posted $2,500 bail and was released from jail Tuesday.
When News4Jax went to her home Wednesday, Johnson answered the door but declined to comment.
This was the second St. Johns County woman stopped with a child in the car this week who were charged with DUI. A 32-year-old woman who had a 2-year-old boy in the car was arrested after a 2 a.m. Monday traffic stop.
In December 2016, the I-TEAM analyzed data and reported on when and where most DUIs occur.