Crime & Courts

Ex-owner of day care guilty in DUI case

A former Wichita day care owner was found guilty of driving under the influence Thursday after she pleaded no contest to charges related to an incident in which employees said she drove children while drunk.

The municipal court judge found Margaret Self, 49, guilty of DUI, driving while on a suspended license and not having a child under age 4 in a proper child restraint.

Self faces up to one year in jail because it's her second DUI conviction, prosecutors said. Since there were children in the day care van, she faces another month in custody.

The two other charges could amount to six more months in jail time and additional fines.

Her day care, Creative Connections Learning Center, has been closed since Oct. 23, when employees called police after they suspected Self was drunk when she drove off with seven children.

No injuries were reported.

After quietly pleading "no contest" to charges in her court appearance Thursday, Self was whisked away to the probation office to set up a pre-sentencing investigation.

Her defense attorney, Danny Saville, said he had no comment. He told Judge Ted Griffith that Self had been in an alcohol-abuse treatment program since October.

The Creative Connections employee who called 911 after trying to stop Self, Lindsey White, was in court, too. She said Self drove her daughter to school the day of the arrest.

Employees said they didn't know about Self's previous DUI conviction in Butler County in February 2009 or about day care license violations that threatened to shut down the business.

White said she hasn't found another day care job because potential employers dismiss her when they see Creative Connections on her resume. But she said she doesn't regret the call to 911.

"I lost my job, but she got off the street," White said.

White said she plans to attend Self's sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 23.

Prosecutors said Self must serve a minimum of five days in jail, but the judge will have discretion on where she spends additional jail time, including in jail, under house arrest or on probation.

White said Self needs to be punished, even if it's only standing before the people whose children she was driving.

"My kid was involved, so I've taken it personally," White said. "She needs to face what she did. The more faces she sees, the worse she'll feel."