Man charged with driving drunk in NW Indiana with minors in car

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - An Indiana man is facing multiple charges for driving drunk without a license Tuesday night with minors in his car in northwest Indiana.

An Indiana State Police officer was sitting in his cruiser at 10:26 p.m. on the Indiana Toll Road about 2.5 miles east of the Indiana/Illinois state line when he observed a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu driving east in the left lane at 108 mph, according to Indiana State Police.

When the trooper turned on his emergency lights and siren, the driver of the Malibu made an “unsafe lane movement,” nearly sideswiping another car, police said.

After stopping the Chevrolet, the trooper saw a male driver, a female passenger in the front seat, and a male passenger in the back seat, police said. Three children, ages 5, 13 and 15, were also seated in the back, with the 5-year-old in his father’s lap.

The driver, Steven P. Smith, 37, of South Bend, Indiana, had an “overwhelming odor” of alcohol and slurred speech, police said. Smith refused to take a chemical test, and had 15 individually packaged grams on him.

Smith was taken to Lake County Jail in Crown Point and charged with felony counts of operating while intoxicated with a minor in car, and operating while intoxicated with a prior conviction, police said. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of dealing marijuana and operating without receiving a license.

The car and its occupants were turned over to the male passenger, who was sober and had a valid driver’s license, police said.

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