Police: Man charged with DUI with 2 children sleeping in back seat

SHARE Police: Man charged with DUI with 2 children sleeping in back seat
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Paul D. Bennett Jr. | Riverside police

A man is facing charges after being caught driving drunk with his two children sleeping in the back seat early Sunday in west suburban Riverside, police said.

Paul D. Bennett Jr., 32, faces two counts each of DUI and endangering the life of a child, according to a statement from Riverside police.

An officer on patrol at 2:48 a.m. spotted a 2002 Oldsmobile cross the double yellow line on South 1st Avenue near Ridgewood Road, police said. As the vehicle continued, it crossed the yellow live several times and was finally curbed on 1st near Ogden Avenue. The car drove onto the curb when it was stopped.

As the officer walked up to the car, the driver, identified as Bennett, spit out the window and then stuck his hands out, indicating he wanted to be taken into custody, police said. The officer then found Bennett’s sons, ages 2 and 12, sleeping in the back seat.

When Bennett was taken out of the vehicle, he “showed obvious signs of impairment, including slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, difficulty standing and was swaying from side to side,” police said. A breathalyzer revealed he had a 0.16 blood-alcohol content.

He was taken into custody and officers found a medicine bottle with cannabis and a pipe, and an open bottle of Hennessey in the vehicle, police said.

Bennett told officers that he had been drinking shots of Hennessey at a party at a relative’s house in Broadview before driving to his home in Chicago’s West Elsdon neighborhood on the Southwest Side, police said. He had left a third child at the party.

He was also charged with possession of cannabis, illegal lane usage, driving in the wrong lane, driving left of the double yellow and transportation of open alcohol, police said.

The children were taken into protective custody by police and their mother came to the police station to pick them up, police said. The arresting officer also contacted the state’s Department of Children and Family Services and filed a child endangerment complaint.

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