Mom breastfeeding while being arrested for driving drunk, Volusia deputies say

Deputies: Driver sitting in vehicle breastfeeding child

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Editors note: This story has been updated to reflect that Deputies say they observed Cateria Thomas breastfeeding her child in her car just prior to being given sobriety tests, not necessarily when she was first pulled over.

Volusia County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a 33-year-old mother after they say she was driving drunk with four small children in her car.

They say she was in her car breastfeeding her 2-month old child right before she failed their field sobriety tests.

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This happened early Tuesday morning in the 1800 block of State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach.

Deputies said they were pulling over Cateria Thomas for an altered temporary tag and a child unrestrained.

According to Thomas' arrest report, deputies said the driver was sitting in the vehicle breastfeeding a small child after they pulled her over.

Deputies said she had red watery and glassy eyes, her speech was slow and slurred, and in the back seat were three children ages 1, 3 and 4.

In the front passenger seat, deputies noticed a full gas can.

Deputies said during a field sobriety test, she was swaying and not steady.

"Doing that to a child is not right, that's not a mother," said Thomas' neighbor, Sylvia Dabbs.

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Local 6 stopped by Thomas' home, but the family would not comment and claimed it was the wrong house. One neighbor, however, told Local 6 that the children's grandmother told her what happened.

"She came over here and talked to us and said that [Thomas] had drove drunk last night with the baby and was breastfeeding and all the four kids got taken away this afternoon," said Dabbs.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrest report said Thomas would not agree to a breath test, but did advise she had four hamburgers with whiskey on them.

DCF is doing background checks on relatives to find a place for the children, they said.

Thomas was still in the Volusia County jail Tuesday night for unlawful alteration to her tag, operating with a suspended license, a child act that could result in physical or mental injury and DUI.

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