Grandmother Pleads Not Guilty to Driving Drunk, Dragging Kid

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LANCASTER, Calif. (KTLA) -- A Lancaster grandmother pleaded not guilty Wednesday to DUI charges, after allegedly dragging one of her grandchildren from a moving vehicle while she was drunk.

55-year-old Marie Shipley is facing five felony charges. Police say her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when she drove three of her grandchildren home from a fishing trip.

Deputies responded to Apollo Park in Lancaster Monday afternoon to investigate a drunk driver who was allegedly dragging a child from the vehicle.

According to sheriff's deputies, the boys, ages 8, 11 and 13, began arguing. When Shipley slowed down, 8-year-old John got out of the van.

"At some point she said, 'Well, get out of the van,' and the kid got out of the van," Johnie Jones, of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, told KTLA. "Then he went to get in the van and grabbed onto the door, and she drug him some 30 feet."

Shipley stopped the car, gathered up the children and drove them home.

She was later arrested and booked on suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

The boy who fell was taken to the hospital by his mother, according to Schrader.

He was treated for minor injuries to his arms.

Family members tell KTLA that the incident has been overblown by police, and that it was an accident.

"She gave the kids an option to get out of the car because they were arguing," daughter Janine Shipley told KTLA.

"They did, and she just didn't realize that my nephew was close to the vehicle and tried to open the door."

The boy told KTLA that he was dragging by the sliding door of the minivan until his grandmother saw him, and then she immediately stopped.

They also say Shipley was not driving under the influence when she was with her grandchildren.

The family says Shipley was given a breathalyzer test when she was taken to the police station, but well after she had been with the kids.

They say that she had something to drink in the interim to help her relax.

"This is my mom's life," daughter Janine Shipley told KTLA. "I know how she feels right now... She's hurting because she hurt her grandchild, and then she's being made out to be a monster."

"There's people out there who really do abuse children, and my mom never would," she said.

"It was a sheer accident, and I know it... She didn't intentionally hurt her grandchild. It was an accident."

Shipley is due back in court on October 25. Her bail was set at $500,000.

If convicted on all charges, she could face up to 13 years in prison.


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