An Oklahoma City mother is behind bars after police found her passed out inside a car with an infant in the back seat. Lori Nichole Lackie, 37, was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on Wednesday on complaints of child endangerment and being in actual physical control (APC) of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
On Wednesday afternoon, when Lackie was arrested, the Oklahoma City metro area was in the grip of the season's first cold snap, with temperatures reaching highs in the low 30's. While news reports do not indicate how old the baby is, a baby registry on The Bump indicates a due date of June 29, which would make the infant approximately 4-5 months old if carried to term. Arresting officers say the infant was cold to the touch when they discovered the mother and baby in the car.
Under Oklahoma law, having control of a vehicle while one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime that carries the same penalties one would face for DUI if actually driving the vehicle. The state's APC law circumvents a defense that a heavily intoxicated person who is passed out behind the wheel is not actually driving, and therefore cannot be guilty of driving while impaired or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, the law can also complicate things for people who decide to sleep it off in their car after realizing they are too impaired to drive home safely, or for people who try to stay warm by sitting in the car with the heater running while waiting for a sober ride to pick them up. If you wait for a sober ride, wait inside an establishment rather than your car. If you must wait or sleep in the vehicle, separate yourself from the keys and sleep in the back seat so that you don't have "control" of the vehicle. Do not put your keys in the ignition.
As for the child endangerment charge, Oklahoma law makes it illegal to allow a child to be in a vehicle driven by a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
A person who is the parent, guardian, or person having custody or control over a child as defined in Section 1-1-105 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes, commits child endangerment when the person:
- Knowingly permits physical or sexual abuse of a child;
- Knowingly permits a child to be present at a location where a controlled dangerous substance is being manufactured or attempted to be manufactured as defined in Section 2-101 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes;
- Knowingly permits a child to be present in a vehicle when the person knows or should have known that the operator of the vehicle is impaired by or is under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance;
- Is the driver, operator, or person in physical control of a vehicle in violation of Section 11-902 of Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes while transporting or having in the vehicle such child or children.
Child Endangerment Laws in Oklahoma
Child endangerment is a felony punishable by a maximum of 4 years in prison.
Lori Lackie, also known as Lori Vanauken and Rachel Rene Ramsey, has a number of prior arrests in Oklahoma County and Canadian County. Her convictions include obtaining property under false pretenses, larceny of merchandise from a retailer, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and meth possession. She was given a deferred sentence obtaining property under false pretense, but was convicted after a drug court program revocation. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections offender lookup shows that she was incarcerated from July 2010 until January 2013.
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