Mom accused of driving drunk with children in backseat

Bottle of opened wine found in car

DeBARY, Fla. – Drivers along Toronto Street and East High Banks Road saw 46-year-old Tressa James behind the wheel Monday afternoon, swerving through traffic while her two young girls were in the back seat, deputies said.


"I'm in back of a vehicle that has two small children in it and I pulled up alongside of it at the stoplight. The woman driving literally had a bottle of, like, whiskey and was pouring it into a cup," a driver said in a 911 call.


The driver followed James until deputies took over and described to dispatch how the mother was driving.


"There's a DeBary Fire Station where there's a yellow blinking signal, she actually stopped at that. Like, there were two cars behind her and I was the third, but was honking at her to go. She thought it was a stoplight and it was a yellow, blinking emergency signal," the driver said.


Deputies said once they arrived, they saw James take too long at a stop sign and pulled her over. Authorities didn't find whiskey, but said a bottle of opened wine was tucked underneath the seat and a Mountain Dew bottle filled with alcohol in the glove compartment.


James refused field-sobriety tests, but deputies said they had enough evidence to arrest her for driving drunk and child abuse.


The children were not hurt and were handed over to their father.

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