13-Year-Old Designated Driver was Also Drunk


A Sheriff’s officer from Santa Fe County, New Mexico was in for a shock when he pulled over an erratic driver last week. Expecting to see a drunk adult driver, instead he found a 13-year-old driver who appeared to be intoxicated.

The teen was driving his grandmother, Sanjuana Mercado-Mendez, who was intoxicated and his 15-year-old sister who was sober.

In addition to admitting to drinking a beer that found on the front floor boards of the car, officers had the boy perform field sobriety which he failed. A subsequent breathalyzer revealed that the teen had a blood alcohol content of 0.14.

Mercado-Mendez is facing several charges including child abuse. According to KRQE, police said that Mercado-Mendez has a prior criminal history which includes a 2015 charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license and 2014 charges of larceny and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In the latter incident, it was alleged that she took her two sons along with her to steal scrap metal.

"The child will be facing DWI — aggravated DWI — because he failed to perform the field sobriety test for the officer. And traffic laws, which are roadway lane for traffic, so basically not staying within his lane. And also driver to be licensed. He’s 13 years old. He can’t possess a valid New Mexico driver’s license," said Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Captain William Pacheco.

When the suggestion is made to find a designated driver after having too much to drink, it does not mean find someone who is just as, if not more, intoxicated than yourself. And it certainly does not mean having someone who isn’t even old enough to drive, let alone drink, drive you home.

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