Union woman arrested for drunken driving, child endangerment

Posted July 16, 2009, at 8:39 p.m.

UNION, Maine — State police charged a local woman with drunken driving and child endangerment earlier this month after she drove her minivan off I-95 in Yarmouth.

Kathleen Cooke, 38, of Union had her children, ages 2 and 6, with her on July 5 when she was found “slumped behind the wheel,” according to a press release from Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police.

No one was hurt, but the 6-year-old told the arresting officer that she was “helping Mommy steer and drive,” according to police reports.

Three days later, Cooke was in police sights again, this time in Waldoboro. Officers were on the lookout for an erratically driven van the afternoon of July 8, Waldoboro Police Chief Bill Labombarde said Thursday. Just as an officer found the van, it veered off Winslow Mills Road and into a ditch. Cooke was at the wheel, according to police.

“Whether she was passed out while driving or not, we don’t know that,” Labombarde said.

Cooke had a blood alcohol content level of 0.27 percent, more than three times the legal limit. She had both children with her, the chief said. The police arrested Cooke and charged her with drunken driving, endangering the welfare of a child, refusing to submit to arrest or detention, and escape.

When the officer approached her van, Cooke and the two children had gotten out of the vehicle.

“We have no idea if the kids were in their safety seats,” Labombarde said.

He said that Cooke resisted arrest and escaped from a set of handcuffs and began to run off.

“The officer had to rearrest her,” Labombarde said.

One of Cooke’s parents picked up her children when police brought her first to the hospital because she was so intoxicated, the chief said, and then to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

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