Mother driving with young child in front seat charged with OVI

A mother is accused of driving under the influence in Clark County while a 4-year-old child sat without a car seat in the passenger seat.

Stephanie Cline, 31, of Brookville, on Monday was charged with child endangering in Clark County Municipal Court. She was also charged with traffic violations including OVI, failure to reinstate licenses, driving under suspension, marked lanes and child safety seat.

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Cline did not appear for a scheduled arraignment Monday morning.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol began an investigation when troopers were called at around 2 a.m. Saturday to Interstate 70, where a Chevrolet SUV was driving erratically and “all over the roadway,” according to an affidavit filed with the charges.

“Both callers stated the vehicle had almost crashed multiple times,” the affidavit says.

Troopers were able to locate the vehicle near Ohio 41 and stayed behind it, according to the affidavit.

“The SUV drove up behind a commercial tractor-trailer and began following it at a distance less than one car length,” the affidavit says. “The suspect vehicle then made a right turn onto Ridge Road; during the turn it almost stopped in the intersection. The Chevrolet made a very wide right turn, causing its left side tires to go over the center line.”

The vehicle was stopped soon after, the affidavit says.

Troopers made contact with the driver, Cline, according to the affidavit, and noticed a child in the front seat.

“During our conversation, I noticed a small child was curled up in the front passenger seat under a blanket,” the affidavit says. “(Cline) stated that her 4-year-old son did not like his car seat and that she couldn’t keep him in it.”

When asked about the driving complaints, Cline allegedly told troopers that she had been looking at her phone while driving.

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The affidavit says troopers then conducted a field sobriety test and became suspicious that she was under the influence of a depressant.

“I noted that her pupils had equal size and tracking and her eyes were droopy,” the affidavit says. “Several seconds into the test, she appeared to get tired and her eyes would begin to close.”

During a search of her vehicle, the trooper found drug paraphernalia, the affidavit says.

“I completed a probable cause search of the vehicle and located a small coin purse in the driver’s door pocket that contained several small baggies, some of white powder and some of a rock-like substance,” the affidavit says. “I also located three small plastic straws with white powder residue.”

Cline was arrested, and she and the child were transported to the Springfield Police Division, according to the affidavit. There, she refused to submit a urine test, according to the affidavit. She and the child were allowed to leave with a family member a few hours later.

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