AUBURN, Maine — A Lewiston woman whose jail sentence was postponed last summer so her husband could serve his time while she looked after their kids is back in jail, arrested for drunken driving after hitting a Lewiston police sergeant’s off-duty pickup truck.
Shunte Jones, 33, of 174 Blake St., Lewiston, had been drinking at a club with her cousin, leaving her two children, 6 and 3 years old, at home alone, according to a police affidavit.
Police arrested her for operating under the influence, endangering the welfare of a child and failing to notify of a motor vehicle accident.
Police noticed her car broken down on Bates Street on Oct. 10. Jones had blood on her sweater, face and neck, and had cut her lip, police said. The car’s windshield was cracked, consistent with damage from a person’s head hitting it.
Jones said she thought she’d had an accident with a truck at the scene, but there was no damage to the truck, whose driver said he had arrived to help Jones start her damaged car, police said. Jones said she had “bumped” another vehicle before her car broke down, but didn’t know where it was.
Jones showed signs of being drunk, but police couldn’t issue a Breathalyzer test because she was bleeding from the mouth. The officer didn’t perform a field sobriety test because Jones had a head injury.
Meanwhile, Sgt Roger Landry noticed that his Toyota Tundra pickup truck, which was parked on Park Street by the police station, had been hit by a maroon vehicle whose paint matched Jones’ car, police said. A trail of automotive fluid led from his truck to her car.
Jones was convicted last summer of criminal threatening for using a gun to force a man into a vehicle and driving him around the city with her boyfriend in an effort to recover $100 from a counterfeit bill.
Dennis Moore, 35, had pleaded guilty in July to two counts of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. He was sentenced to four years in prison with all but nine months suspended, followed by two years of probation.
Jones was sentenced on a single charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon to four years in prison with all but nine months and a day suspended plus two years of probation. Her sentence was stayed until March, when Moore was expected to be released from jail to take over parental control from Jones.
The earlier charges stem from an incident the night of Dec. 3, 2011, when Ashley Crocker, 27, a friend, was visiting the couple at their Strawberry Avenue home with her child, according to prosecutors. A friend of Crocker’s, Corey Emmett, 31, sent her a text message asking if he could visit.
After Emmett arrived, he received a text message from a friend asking whether he could change a $100 bill. Moore and Jones said they could oblige. Emmett’s friend arrived outside their home. Emmett left with Jones’ and Moore’s five $20 bills and came back with a $100 bill. It soon became clear that the $100 bill was counterfeit. Jones said she needed that money to buy diapers and food.
From that point on, prosecutors and the defense say events quickly got out of control.
Jones “just simply lost it,” Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy said.
At one point she struck Emmett with the handgun with which she had threatened him. At another point, Moore and Jones were driving Emmett around the city seeking the man to whom Emmett had given the five $20 bills in exchange for the man’s fake $100 bill.
“It was incredibly frightening to everyone who was there,” Kennedy said, including Crocker, who looked on during sentencing in the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Robinson said Emmett believed he was going to die if he failed to return the couple’s money. Crocker, who believed she might have been killed during the argument, has had trouble sleeping, has experienced nightmares and had to seek treatment for the trauma of the events.
Kennedy said the couple was “remarkably lucky” that the incident didn’t result in serious injury.