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Mother of Five Charged With DUI and Child Neglect After Traffic Crash With Four of the Children Unrestrained

Posted November 5th, 2018

A Winter Haven mother is behind bars charged with DUI and five counts of Negligent Child Abuse after she was involved in a traffic crash with her young children in the car – unrestrained.

On 11-4-18 at approximately 6:11 p.m., officers responded to a traffic crash at 6th St NW and Ave. L NW in Winter Haven. Twenty-eight year-old Shawana Jones,  was driving one of three vehicles involved in the crash. She told officers that traffic in front of her suddenly stopped and she couldn’t stop in time.

When officers started interviewing Jones, they noticed the smell of alcohol and performed field sobriety tests, which she failed. When the breathalyzer test was conducted, she blew a .177, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Officers also inquired why four of the five young children, ranging in age of four months to five years old were unrestrained in the vehicle. She told officers that she was working with a local shelter to obtain child restraint devices; however she had only obtained one. All five children were taken by ambulance to Winter Haven Hospital with minor injuries. Jones was not injured and did not require medical treatment.

When the children were medically cleared, they were all turned over to the Department of Children and Families since no legal guardian could be located at the time. Jones was booked into the Polk County Jail on Driving Under the Influence (M1) and five counts of Negligent Child Abuse (F2). She was also issued six traffic citations to include four for the children not being properly restrained, careless driving and failure to provide proof of registration.

“There is absolutely no excuse for someone, especially a mother, to put the lives of children in danger like Jones did,” said Public Safety Director Charlie Bird. “It’s bad enough when someone chooses to drive under the influence, but involving five very small children and not having proper restraints is inexcusable. We are grateful that the children only received minor injuries and nobody else was hurt.”