Police: DUI mom with child in car lied about COVID-19 infection to avoid jail

Jeff Bobo • Apr 24, 2020 at 7:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County woman who was arrested on Wednesday evening on charges of DUI and child endangerment allegedly told police she had tested positive for COVID-19 in hopes that she might not have to got to jail.

Instead, the Rogersville Police Department went into “COVID-19 protocol,” which involved gloves, masks and extra protective clothing, while arresting Haley Marcala Baird.

Upon her arrival at the jail, Baird was placed in special clothing and a protective medical mask while jailers added their own extra protective clothing and mask during the booking process, after which Baird was to be placed in an isolation cell.

During the booking process, however, Baird reportedly admitted she had lied and hadn’t actually tested positive for COVID-19.

RPD Detective Travis Fields told the Times News that Baird stated she thought she might not have to go to jail if authorities thought she was positive for COVID-19.

Shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, RPD Officer Josh Byrd responded to a report of an intoxicated female driver with a child in a gray Chevy Traverse at the Eastman Credit Union branch drive-thru on Route 66.

By the time Byrd arrived, the SUV was gone, but a short time later he reportedly observed the vehicle return to the ECU drive-thru.

Byrd later found out that Baird had driven off with ECU’s drive-thru tube cylinder and had come back to return it.

After Baird exited the ECU parking lot back onto Route 66, Byrd allegedly observed her using a cell phone while driving, and conducted a traffic stop. Baird’s 7-year-old daughter was a passenger in the vehicle.

“During the initial interview Baird appeared to have a difficult time holding her eyes open while she spoke to officers,” Byrd stated in his report. “Baird also had a difficult time with slurring speech while speaking.”

Baird then submitted to field sobriety tests, after which she was placed under arrest. Baird was allegedly found in possession of a cut straw, which had a powder residue on it.

Baird, 26, 304 West Hills Drive, Rogersville, was charged with child endangerment, DUI second offense, possession of drug paraphernalia, use of a handheld mobile device while driving and no insurance.

Fields said the attorney general will be consulted to determine if Baird should be charged with filing a false report as well.

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