Middletown mom charged with DUI with babies in car

A Middletown woman accused ofdriving drunk with her young children in the car pleaded not guilty to chargeson Friday.

Erin Hebel was arraigned inNewport District Court. Hebel was charged with driving under the influence ofliquor and or drugs.

Police said Hebel was drunk withher 1- and 2-year-old daughters in the car.

An officer said a call from a concernedcitizen on Feb. 22 led him to the corner of Aquidneck and Green End avenues. Theofficer said he saw Hebel driving her SUV and saw her swerving, running over acurb, clipping a snow bank and crossing a travel lane.

Police said they found a cup withbrown liquid in the car.

Police said they also found anempty find of vodka, a full pint of vodka and prescription drugs in her purse.

Hebel's next court date is inthree weeks.

In an effort to strengthen thestate's DUI laws, Gabrielle Abbate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said hergroup has joined with state police to make driving drunk with a child 13 yearsold or younger a felony.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee introducedthe legislation on Wednesday.

If the bill is passed, those chargedwith drunken driving with a child would immediately have their licensesuspended. If found guilty, offenders could face five years in prison and a$5,000 fine.

"It's about deterringbehavior," Abbate said. "(Children) have no voice in the matter, theymight not be aware of the situation and somebody's put them in danger."