Wichita police said Monday they are investigating a case in which multiple residents called to report small children in the back seat of a parked car, with a driver who appeared to be asleep at the wheel or passed out.
Some people calling police said the children were trying to wake the driver as she sat behind the wheel at 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Police found the children safe, eventually, at a grandmother’s house. There were four girls, ages 2, 3, 8 and 14. The 23-year-old woman who had been at the wheel was arrested, said Sgt. Kevin Bradford of the Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit.
The children were located near Seneca and 31st Street South, according to police reports.
The woman had appeared to be extremely intoxicated hours earlier on Friday evening, when she took them away in the car, according to police reports. The woman took the kids without parental authorization, police said.
The children had gotten into her car while they and other people had gathered for a weekend picnic at a park in south Wichita, Bradford said.
Before police found the girls they had blanketed several neighborhoods with patrol cars in their search. Numerous calls came in from residents, including from people with a tag number for the car, Bradford said.
The driver was combative and resisted arrest when found by police, Bradford said. She was taken into custody on suspicion of battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, brawling and fighting, criminal damage to property, and having a suspended or fraudulent driver’s license, according to police reports.
The case is being investigated by the Exploited and Missing Child Unit. The children were returned to their parents, police reports said.