Police: Etters-area woman was DUI with unsecured baby in SUV

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Police have filed charges against a Newberry Township woman who they allege drove drunk with her baby in her vehicle.

Michele L. Schell, 36, of Reeser Drive, remains free on $20,000 unsecured bail, charged with child endangerment, driving under the influence and failing to secure a child-safety seat.

She was arraigned Sunday, Aug. 5, according to court records, and her preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 11.

Michele L. Schell

According to charging documents, Newberry Township Police were alerted by township fire personnel that firefighters had seen a Mitsubishi Montero being driven on a flat tire about 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4.

They also told police there was a child inside, police said.

Officer Nicholas Vozzella tracked down the car to the gas pumps of a convenience store in the 2200 block of Old Trail Road at 9:20 p.m., police said.

Schell was standing at the rear driver-side door of her SUV, tending to her baby, when Vozzella approached and asked her what was going on, according to documents.

She said she struck a curb and popped her tire, police said.

Schell's eyes were glassy and bloodshot, according to documents, which allege she was unsteady on her feet to the point that she "had to hold onto things to support herself."

She also smelled of alcohol, police said.

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'Highly impaired': Field-sobriety tests indicated Schell was "highly impaired and incapable of operation of a motor vehicle," charging documents allege.

A Breathalyzer-type test showed her blood-alcohol level to be 0.21 percent, documents state. In Pennsylvania, adults are driving drunk at 0.08 percent, meaning she was allegedly 2½ times over the legal limit.

Schell's 1-year-old son was fastened in a child safety seat in the back of her SUV, but the child seat itself had not been secured with a seat belt, according to charging documents.

Vozzella found open bottles of wine in a bag on the back seat of Schell's SUV, police said.

A witness reported seeing Schell's SUV traveling at a high rate of speed past the township fire station along York Haven Road, documents state.

Schell's defense attorney, T.L. Kearney, declined immediate comment on Tuesday, Aug. 14, saying the case against his client was merely in the beginning stages.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.