EXCLUSIVE: Mom's DWI arrest with infant

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – It's a shocking crime which luckily did 'not' have a tragic ending.  Police stop and arrest an Ark-La-Tex woman on a charge of drunk driving with her 6-week old child in the car.

The father came and got the baby at the scene overnight during the arrest.  And the mother is now out on bond.  Shreveport Police said the officer stopped her about 2:30 in the morning after driving erratically -all over the road "…in the wrong lane of traffic, almost struck some parked vehicles," described Sgt. Bill Goodin.

And it all ended at the intersection of Topeka and Cornwell.  That's where the officer approached 29 year old Crystal Otwell, inside her car.  "The officer detected a very heavy odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and he believed that she was intoxicated," added Sgt. Goodin.

But that was just half the trouble Otwell was facing, once the officer looked inside her car.  Goodin concluded, "what's more disconcerting and more concerning to us is the fact that she had an infant in the car with her as well, who was approximately six weeks old.  So officers immediately placed her under arrest."

Otwell now faces a charge of child endangerment to go along with the DWI charge.  After we heard from Shreveport Police, we wanted to hear the other side.  So, we tracked her down where the mother lives.

When we arrived at Otwell's home we didn't get to hear from the alleged DWI mom.  But we did meet the baby's father:
  (nats – front door opens)

REPORTER:  "hey..."
FATHER:  "yes sir."
REPORTER:  "I'm with channel 12."
FATHER:  "Yes sir."
REPORER:  "Trying to, were you the one that helped pick up the baby last night?
FATHER:  "Yes, sir."

But, as you might imagine, the father did not want to talk about what happened, only telling us everyone is okay.  And that is at least some consolation for neighbors like Judy McCaffrey, who lives right across the street from Otwell.

McCaffrey told us, "to take that kind of chance with a brand new baby is just, it's sad, really sad; sad for the mother, sad for the child."

This is far from the first run-in with the law for this alleged DWI mom.  Shreveport Police have arrested her at least five other times.  Otwell faced a charge of simple battery in both 2009 and in 2000.  In 2006,  it was public drunkenness and resisting arrest.  In 1999, they charged her with flight in a vehicle with no seatbelt.  And in 1998 it was a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.   This latest charge against Otwell is her first involving drunk driving.

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