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Woman charged with DUI, child neglect

By Staff | Feb 21, 2013

A local woman accused of driving under the influence is also facing a child neglect charge for having a juvenile in her SUV when police stopped her.

Tonia Marie Root, 45, of 18531 Durrance Road, North Fort Myers, was arrested and charged Sunday with neglect child without great bodily harm, as well as DUI unlawful blood alcohol .15 or higher or with person under 18.

She has since been released from the Lee County Jail on $3,000 bond.

Root did not return a message Thursday seeking comment on the charges.

At 10:15 p.m., Cape Coral police observed an SUV traveling eastbound on Pine Island Road. According to an arrest report, the vehicle failed to stay in its designated lane and, at times, swerved completely off of the roadway.

Officers conducted a traffic stop and identified Root at the driver.

During questioning, police reportedly detected the smell of alcohol on her breath and Root’s speech was slow and slurred. Root was asked to step out of the SUV and participate in field sobriety tests, which she agreed to do.

Afterward, Root was transported to the CCPD for a breath test.

According to the report, she blew a .188 and .177.

Root was placed under arrest. Relatives took custody of the juvenile.

While in holding, Root reportedly stated that she does not normally drive drunk with the child in the car. She reportedly added that she had been at a relative’s house drinking Bug Light beer before she was stopped by police.

Root allegedly apologized for drinking and driving on the way to the jail.

According to court documents, she was charged in August 2007 for DUI cause person and or property damage (.20 level) and driving with suspended or revoked driver’s license. Root was adjudicated guilty on both charges.

Two months prior to that arrest, she was charged with DUI and driving with suspended license. Root was adjudicated guilty on those charges, as well.

She has a court date scheduled for March 18 for Sunday’s arrest