WEST WARWICK, R .I. (WPRI) — When troopers pulled over a West Warwick man on Linden Drive Wednesday night, they said his blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.
According to Rhode Island State Police, Richard G. Rego, 38, also had a 20-month-old baby in the car with him.
State police said troopers pulled over Rego after receiving reports of a car being operated erratically in Cranston and Warwick.
Troopers arrested Rego around 9:10 p.m. on Linden Drive in West Warwick.
He was charged with driving under the influence of liquor and/or drugs, first offense, BAC .15 or greater.
Rego entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment Thursday and released on $1,000 personal recognizance. His case will be transferred to Superior Court.
Police did not specify Rego’s relationship to the child, who was turned over to relatives. Police said the Department of Children, Youth, and Families was notified.
The charge against Rego is a misdemeanor, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving and some local lawmakers are looking to change that.
“Drinking and driving is illegal, but now there’s child endangerment that we’re talking about this time,” said Rep. Bobby Nardolillo. “We’re not just seeing these once every so often. It’s too frequent.”
Nardolillo introduced a bill to make driving under the influence with a child under 13 in the car a felony. It would increase fines and possible prison time for offenders.
The bill was heard by committee in February and held for further study. A similar bill passed the Senate last year but never made it out of committee in the House.
MADD said the issue is their signature legislative agenda item this year.