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article imageCouple drive away from liquor store with kids strapped to hood

By Larry Clifton     May 8, 2012 in Crime
On Monday, an Indiana couple allegedly used a tow strap to secure their kids to the hood of their car before driving away from a liquor store in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Multiple witnesses saw the children, ages 4, 5, 6 and 7, bound to the moving car as the couple pulled out of the liquor store parking lot at 2116 Fairfield Avenue and called police. An off-duty law enforcement officer pulled the couple over before anyone was injured.
“With one of those straps you crank on a semi to hold down lumber, they were strapped with that thing, wiggling and wobbling down the street,” said Tom Nowak, a witness to the incident, according to an Indiana NewsCenter report.
Nowak said numerous witnesses called police and an off-duty U.S. Marshal who happened to be in the area pulled the car over at the 400 block of Poplar St.
Fort Wayne Police charged the male driver, 29-year-old Aaron Stefanski, Fort Wayne, with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and neglect of a dependent. The adult female passenger, 29 –year-old Jessica Clark, was charged with neglect of a dependent. Additional charges are pending. Stefanski is father to three of the children and Clark is the mother of one.
Indiana’s NewsCenter had a chance to speak with the children after the incident and were told the adults asked if they wanted to ride on the hood of the car and they said, "yes, because it sounded like fun.”
Witnesses say after the off-duty officer conducted the traffic stop the woman involved disposed of a cup she had in her hand and started to leave the scene.
“Everyone said, ‘No! She watched it all, sat in the passenger seat and let it all happen. Take her too!’ So they called her back and handcuffed her,” said Nowak. The woman was later taken to the police station for questioning. Child Protective Services were called to the scene.
The mother of three of the children reportedly says the children are currently safe at home with her. The woman did not want to be interviewed on camera, but told a reporter that she's, "livid and in shock.” She said, “if she knew their father was going to do this, she never would've let them go with him."
The mother of three who now has custody says her ex-husband has been a big help with the kids and she was happy he was in their lives. Now that she’s allegedly been told her children can no longer see their father, she’s overwhelmed by the thought of being a single mother.
The fourth child will reportedly stay with her grandparents.
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