St. Louis mom charged after police say she had 8-year-old drive while she was passed out

A St. Louis woman who officials say made her 8-year-old son drive, with her toddler in the backseat, while she was passed out has been charged with child endangerment.

St. Louis prosecutors filed two counts of felony child endangerment against Latonya Mayes-Gale, 28, on Monday, the day of her arrest. One of the counts pertains to the boy; the other concerns her 3-year-old, who was unsecured in the back seat, according to charging documents.

Mayes-Gale was arrested and booked into jail after an officer spotted a vehicle heading west in an eastbound lane at a downtown St. Louis intersection, police said in an affidavit filed in support of her arrest.

“Defendant couldn’t drive the motor vehicle and instructed [the 8-year-old] to drive the motor vehicle for her,” the affidavit said. “Defendant was in the rear of the motor vehicle unconscious and Victim# 2, who is three years of age, was unsecured in the backseat.”

NBC affiliate KSDK of St. Louis reported the incident took place about 4 a.m. No injuries were reported.

The complaint alleges Mayes-Gale placed the 8-year-old in danger by instructing him to drive and placed the 3-year-old in danger by allowing the toddler to ride in a vehicle driven by the 8-year-old.

Each count carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison if it is successfully prosecuted.

Her lawyer, Steven Kratky, said via email that Mayes-Gale is raising her two children, works as a home health aide and cares for an elderly, homebound grandparent, factors he brought up in court.

A judge released Mayes-Gale pending trial Tuesday, with a bond hearing scheduled for April 23, according to court records.

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