A man stopped by police for drunken driving is facing far more serious charges, after officers discovered he had left his three young children, including one with severe disabilities, home alone.
According to Greenfield police, an officer stopped a slow-moving purple Jeep Grand Cherokee at 12:51 a.m. July 17. The vehicle was moving between 20 and 25 mph in the 35 mph zone in the 4600 block of West Forest Home Avenue, and was drifting from side to side within the lane. The officer said the driver was looking down at a cell phone as he drove.
After the officer pulled over the Jeep, the 32-year-old driver Ismael Alcaraz-Prado failed field sobriety tests. As they waited for a tow truck to remove the Jeep, Alcaraz-Prado told the officer he needed to go home tonight, because his children, all under the age of 8, were home alone.
The officer took Alcaraz-Prado to the hospital for a blood draw, and then to the police department, where he cited for his third drunken driving offense. The officer also asked the Milwaukee Police Department to check on the children at the home. According to the Greenfield Police Department report, Milwaukee did not respond to the teletype request, so the officer called MPD District 2 and asked squads check the residence and for the well-being of the children.
Milwaukee police told the officer they had been unable to make contact with anyone at Alcaraz-Prado's home when they first checked at 3:18 a.m. Milwaukee police returned to the residence at 7:10 a.m., and spoke to the three children, aged 4, 6 and 8, who were at the home. The criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court outlines what those officers found.
According to that criminal complaint, the 8-year-old said their father sometimes leaves them home alone while he runs to the store. The boy told a forensic interviewer that his dad drinks lots of beer, and sometimes leaves him in charge. He said he has to take care of his disabled 4-year-old brother, including cleaning up after him when he throws up. He said "his house isn't good because of all the roaches and no food."
What the officers say they found bore out the boy's description. Officers reported flies in the kitchen; dirty dishes on the coffee table, kitchen table, stove top and in the sink; full garbage bags throughout the home; and only a few cans of beans and vegetables and a half-gallon of milk in the refrigerator, plus three small bags of what appeared to be frozen meat in the kitchen.
In addition to the drunken driving citation, Alcaraz-Prado faces three counts of misdemeanor child neglect in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Each count comes with the possible penalty of a $10,000 fine or nine months in jail.