Alva Review-Courier -

Alva woman charged with child endangerment


A report by a concerned citizen and a traffic stop led to the arrest of an Alva woman. She is now facing charges in Woods County.

Court records show on June 16 about 6 p.m., Woods County Undersheriff Keith Dale received a report from a concerned citizen who said his son was following a vehicle in the area west of Dacoma. The reporting person had been told empty beer cans were being thrown from the vehicle as it traveled east on a county road.

Dale spoke to the concerned citizen’s son who described the vehicle and said it turned north on County Road 470, heading toward Highway 64 at a high rate of speed. He told Dale he believed the vehicle was occupied by an adult male, an adult female and at least one child.

Undersheriff Dale drove to the area and observed a black Chevrolet Tahoe traveling north on County Road 470 near Harmon Road. The vehicle appeared to be traveling at a higher rate of speed than the 45 mph limit. Dale checked the vehicle’s speed by radar and found it be traveling 61 mph.

Dale initiated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop. After the vehicle stopped just north of CR470 and Harmon Road, he made contact with the driver who identified herself as Jasmine Danielle Fitzwater by providing her driver’s license. While at the driver’s side door, Dale observed a juvenile female, age 16, sitting in the front passenger seat. Stetson Coy Rhodes was sitting in the back seat between two children, ages 2 and 3, who were in car seats.

While speaking with Fitzwater, Dale could smell the odor of an intoxicating beverage emitting from the vehicle. He asked her to exit her vehicle and sit in the front passenger seat of his patrol vehicle.

Dale advised Fitzwater of the reason for the stop. While she spoke, Dale could smell the odor of alcohol emitting from her breath. Fitzwater identified the occupants of her vehicle saying the two-year-old and three-year-old are her biological children. According to the court affidavit, Fitzwater admitted to consuming alcohol with Rhodes while they were driving but denied the 16-year-old was drinking or that there were any open containers of alcohol in the vehicle.

Dale asked all the remaining occupants of the vehicle to exit while conducted a search for open containers of alcohol. The search revealed one open container of beer between the front passenger seat the center console and two open containers of beer in the rear pockets of the front seats. All three were approximately half full and cold to the touch. Dale observed an open 24-pack of Michelob beer with 11 12-ounce cans of beer remaining.

Woods County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaleb Keplinger arrived to assist, and Dale asked him to conduct field sobriety tests on Fitzwater.

Dale spoke with the 16-year-old who admitted to consuming alcohol but refused to state who provided the beer.

Dale spoke with Rhodes and advised him of his Miranda rights, which he voluntarily waived. Rhodes admitted to consuming beer while they were traveling but denied providing the beer to the 16-year-old. He stated the beer was in the vehicle when he was picked up.

Dale then talked with Fitzwater and advised her of her Miranda Rights, which she voluntarily waived. Fitzwater admitted to purchasing the Michelob beer which they all consumed.

Keplinger told Dale that Fitzwater performed inadequately on the standardized field sobriety test. He conducted a preliminary breath test on Fitzwater which revealed a blood alcohol concentration greater than the legal limit for driving while impaired but under the legal limit for driving under the influence.

The 16-year-old was issued citations for transporting an open container of alcohol and minor in possession of alcohol. She was transported to the Woods County Sheriff’s Office by Keplinger where she was released to a sober guardian.

Rhodes was issued a citation for transporting an open container of alcohol and released.

Fitzwater was issued citations for transporting an open container of alcohol and contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was released.

The two-year-old and three-year-old were released to their biological father.

On July 1 in Woods County, Jasmine Danielle Fitzwater, 25, of Alva, was charged with child endangerment by permitting presence in a vehicle when driver is impaired or under the influence, a felony. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to four years, or both.

Fitzwater was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors, a misdemeanor. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.


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