Charges likely after shivering toddler found in DUI arrest
A Marquette man likely will face aggravated child endangerment charges after police found his 2-year-old son in the back of a truck he had been driving erratically on US-56.
Michael Weaver, 27, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence, and transporting an open container of alcohol.
Marion officer Aaron Slater said sheriff’s deputy Joel Womochil told him to “make the stop for the county” after Weaver’s truck crossed the center line on US-56.
“He was all over the road,” Slater said. “He was in the grass, way past the shoulder on US-56, then he crossed the center line and drove back onto the shoulder.”
When the truck stopped Slater got out to talk to the driver and his heart skipped. A child was crying.
“We’ve got a baby in the back,” Slater told dispatchers amid his feelings of unease.
“He was definitely putting this little boy in danger,” he said. “I am glad I stopped him. It could have been a bad situation if I hadn’t.”
Womochil arrived minutes later and saw the 2-year-old crying in a car seat in the back of a truck with its windows rolled down.
“He was upset as a child would be, it was cold out,” he said.
They needed to find the child’s mother.
At 10:59 p.m. Womochil called Marquette EMS and left an urgent message for Michael Weaver’s wife Whitney, who works with emergency services.
“I need her to call my cell phone,” he told dispatchers. “Tell her it is expedited. I need her to call me.”
A little after 11 p.m., Marion dispatchers asked if there was any way to get Whitney Weaver’s phone number because McPherson’ dispatchers told them they were barred from contacting emergency staff for anything other than a medical page.
Weaver didn’t know his wife’s number and couldn’t find his cell phone.
“We allowed him to look for it, but he was not able to locate it,” Womochil said. “I don’t think he ever did.”
Officers conducted a field sobriety test with Weaver and decided to arrest him.
“It was not hard to make that decision,” Womochil said.
Sergeant Larry Starkey told dispatchers he would contact the McPherson county sheriff’s office and Marquette city police to see if they could help find Whitney.
“This is regarding a 2-year old child, the only other option is to call DCF and I don’t want that,” he said.
At 11:05 p.m., dispatchers said an officer was looking for her..
Twenty-five minutes later they said she was her way to the sheriff’s department, where her son had been taken to warm up and his father was booked into jail.
Michael Weaver was released Sunday on $3,000 surety bond.
County attorney Joel Ensey said he has not been formally charged as of press time.
“I don’t have all the paperwork yet to make an official charge, but I should have it this week,” he said.
“I anticipate charging him with DUI and child endangerment when I have everything I need to make that final decision.”
Last modified Jan. 27, 2021