Lima Police: Drunken driver crashes 3 times in 10 minutes; has 2-year-old in car

Lance Mihm

January 13, 2014

LIMA — Police officials said a man was driving drunk with his 2-year-old son in the car and was involved in three separate crashes in a 10-minute period.

Darnell Cook, 41, of Lima, was arrested shortly after the crashes by Lima Police Department officers after witnesses at the scene of the third crash gathered around his vehicle and blocked him, preventing his escape. Cook was arrested on multiple charges, including three charges of operating a vehicle under the influence, three charges of driving under suspension, a charge of child endangerment, and multiple traffic violations.

LPD officers were dispatched at 1:02 p.m. Monday to the Taco Bell restaurant on Allentown Road. According to the report, someone driving a 1997 Green Venture minivan had entered the parking lot driving in an erratic manner and struck another vehicle that was in line waiting to order. The vehicle then left the scene.

After leaving the scene, the driver ran a stop sign at the intersection of Sherwood Drive and North Cable Road, striking a vehicle at the intersection, leaving the bumper of the minivan in the middle of the intersection and again fled the scene.

The driver then fled south on Cable Road, where he rear-ended a vehicle in the turn lane at the intersection of North Cable and Allentown roads, where multiple witnesses at the scene surrounded the minivan so it couldn’t escape. Officers arrived at the scene soon after and identified the driver as Cook.

Cook’s passenger, his 2-year-old son, was released to the care of a relative.

An officer at the Lima Police Department said people generally are not held in jail after an OVI arrest and that it was likely Cook would be released later Monday if he could arrange a ride home. No injuries were reported in any of the crashes.

A review of court records revealed Cook was convicted on a drunken-driving charge in 2001 in Lima Municipal Court. He was convicted of a fifth degree felony charge of possession of crack cocaine in 2006 in Allen County Common Pleas Court. Other records show he was convicted of intoxication in both 2005 and 2006 and use/possession/sale of drug paraphernalia in 2010.