New York State Police arrested 45-year-old Joanne Batch of Cheektowaga for Leandra's Law DWI and 3 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. According to police, one of the three children called 911 to report Batch's erratic driving.
In the car was Batch's daughter, granddaughter and her daughter's friend. The three children are 13, 12 and 4 years old.
Batch was arrested on West Yorkshire Road in the Town of Yorkshire Saturday, June 10 shortly before 11 P.M.
Batch was moving from the lane unsafely and had an odor of alcohol on her breath, according to Troopers who pulled her over. Batch failed standardized field sobriety tests and was transported to State Police in Machias for processing.
Michelle Abraham is a clinical therapist at BestSelf Behavioral Health in Buffalo. She said it's difficult for children to see a trusted adult breaking the law.
"[The children] have split loyalties," she explained. "On the one hand, we teach them in school that is not safe and it is illegal. On the other hand, that's their mom or their dad driving, so they don't want to do anything to get their parents in trouble."
According to Abraham, it can also be dangerous for a child's development to hear their parent criticized for this kind of mistake.
"Crucifying the parent is just as damaging, sometimes, as the behavior itself," Abraham said.
Police say Batch is facing up to 8 years in prison if convicted of the charges.