32-year-old Akira Kirk was driving eleven children, seven of her own and four relatives, on the northbound I-43 off-ramp to 10th Street Saturday afternoon, when she lost control of her Dodge Durango. The vehicle struck a barrier wall and landed on its roof.
The children's ages ranged from 2 to 18. Five children were injured and taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. They were later released.
The driver failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol level was 0.16, twice the level considered evidence of intoxication, WISN.com reports. Kirk had apparently become distracted by the children and turned towards the back to stop them fighting when she lost control of the Durango. Officials declared that child safety seats had not been used and that the two youngest children were seated on older kids' laps, sharing the seat belts.
A first-time drunken driving charge with kids in the car is typically a misdemeanor, but in this case, prosecutors believe the driver's reckless behavior warrants a felony charge.
Thankfully, all the kids seem to have escaped the accident without serious injury.
There is not much to add to this sorry tale accumulating distracted driving, driving under the influence and unrestrained children. The happy ending is that the reckless woman will be sentenced and taken off the road for a while, that none of the children were seriously hurt, and that the crash did not kill or hurt other motorists.