THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A Thomas County Sheriff's deputy stopped a Jeep Cherokee on U.S. 319 North around one o'clock Saturday morning. The officer asked the driver, Lajulia Smith, for her driver's license and proof of insurance.
It was at this point the officer detected Smith had been drinking and her five month old child was with her in the car.
Soon after dispatch informed the deputy a driver's license could not be found in her name, Smith fled. "The last thing our guys wanted to do, they knew the child was in there, they didn't want to chase her and back her into a corner. So they backed off and just followed to see where she was going and she drove straight to her aunt's house," said Thomas County Sheriff's PIO Captain Steve Jones.
Another deputy arrived and the officers followed Smith from a safe distance. They followed her for about five miles from 319 North to Dillon Road, than north to Lawhorne, and eventually caught up with her on Centennial.
When Smith was stopped, officers released the child to an aunt. "If you know you're going to drink than by all means make some other plans to take care of our children. They should come first instead of the drinking," said Thomas County DFCS Director Ken Law.
Department of Family and Children's Services officials say drinking affects your ability to make smart decisions. "You could forget to buckle a child in, keep a child safe. You can also exit your vehicle when you get to your location, leave your child in the car depending on the age of the child," said Law.
DFCS says when evaluating a case, they focus on three major factors. "Parental capacity. You know does the parent have the capacity to protect this child. Child vulnerability. How old is the child? Does the child have any special needs? And than safety. Is the child safe," said Law.
Officials say if you ever feel the safety of a child is in danger, do not hesitate to call the police or your local DFCS office.
Smith is charged with speeding, failure to stop at a railroad crossing, fleeing or attempting to elude, reckless driving, endangering the life of a child while driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.
Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved.
More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>