A woman who circled a neighborhood in Madera on Saturday night was arrested after police found her “highly intoxicated” with her 11-month-old child in the car.
Police credited a man looking for a car burglar for alerting them to the woman.
Arthur Cuevas II, 36, was visiting his mother-in-law on New Year’s Eve when his car was broken into around 9 p.m.; his son’s Xbox One was stolen.
Cuevas decided to drive around to see if he could spot the burglar.
That’s when he noticed a driver moving “erratically and circling the neighborhood,” Cuevas said.
The driver was identified Sunday by police as Lindsey Lawson. Police say she drove slowly down Fourth Street several times before neighbors called police, believing the car belonged to the burglar who took the Xbox One.
As Lawson tried turning right onto Pine Street, her car became stuck on the railroad tracks. Cuevas, who had been following the car, thought it was a good time to approach the driver.
“My wife was yelling at me not to because we didn’t know who was occupying the vehicle or how many people were in there,” Cuevas said.
But the occupants in the silver-colored car were no thieves. Cuevas found Lawson with an 11-month-old girl inside.
“I noticed a child in the back seat, not buckled or in a car seat,” Cuevas said.
The Cuevases got the little girl out of Lawson’s car and inside Cuevas’ car where it was warm. Cuevas said Lawson pleaded for him not to call police. He told her he would call a tow truck.
Police said they found Lawson was three times over the legal alcohol limit.
Police believe Lawson became disoriented, which is why she appeared lost in the neighborhood.
Cuevas said he and his wife held the baby until Child Protective Services arrived.
“My son’s Xbox One is replaceable. The sweet little innocent precious child’s life is not,” Cuevas said.