LONGVIEW — According to the Gregg County Sheriff's Department, Karla Sanchez Castaneda, 20, of Gilmer, will be formally charged Thursday in Gregg County for a November 2010 arrest involving driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, while children were inside her car. This wasn't the last arrest for Castaneda, who managed to rack up three more DWI arrests since November. Two of them also involved children passengers in her vehicle. KETK tried to contact Castaneda's lawyer Jose Sanchez for comment, but did not hear back from him. Also KETK asked the Gregg County Assistant District Attorney, who's handling the case, to speak, but he declined to comment on an on-going investigation.
Mother's Against Drunk Driving did give KETK some staggering statistics though when it comes to drinking and driving while kids are along for the ride:
In 2009, 14% of the children age 14 and younger who were killed in car crashes, were killed in alcohol-impaired wrecks. Of the 181 children age 0 to 14 years old, who were killed, in alcohol related crashes in 2009, 92% of those killed were passengers in vehicles with drivers who had a BAC level of .08 or higher.
37 states have laws enhancing penalties for those who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. As of 2003, the Texas State Legislature voted to enhance the penalty for this as well. It is a felony if you're arrested for a DWI and you have a child (someone under 15 years old) in your car at the time. That's up to a 2 year prison sentence or a minimum of 180 days in jail. That makes the crime equal to someone's 3rd DWI arrest. Someone's first DWI arrest is only a class B misdemeanor in the state of Texas currently.
Jessica Wilson/ KETKnbc.com