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Dad thought ‘they’d like’ ride on hood

DWI among felony charges


– Aaron Stefanski thought his kids would enjoy being strapped to the hood of his vehicle when he stopped at a liquor store south of downtown.

“I was only going to drive around the corner. I thought they would like it,” he would later tell police.

Stefanski strapped his two sons, ages 4 and 5, his 6-year-old daughter and the 7-year-old daughter of Jessica Clark to the hood with a tow strap, police said.

Clark and her daughter were riding with Stefanski and his children when they stopped at Belmont Beverage, 2116 Fairfield Ave.

A manager at the liquor store called 911 about 5:30 p.m. Monday when he saw Stefanski use a tow strap to secure the four children to the hood of a large white, 4-door vehicle and head south on Fairfield, the police report said.

A U.S. marshal in the area heard the dispatch and pulled Stefanski over in the 400 block of Poplar Street – about three blocks away, the report said.

Fort Wayne police arrived shortly after and could smell alcohol on Stefanski’s breath, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday. His blood alcohol level was 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent in Indiana.

The mother of Stefanski’s children later showed up and the children were released to her, the police report said.

Police said Stefanski did not have valid insurance and when they went to tow the vehicle, they found two cold 24-ounce Magnum beers inside a pink backpack inside the car.

Stefanski was unkempt and crying when police interviewed him. He told officers he had two beers at home, the report said.

Stefanski, 29, was charged with three felony counts of neglect of a dependent, felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated and four misdemeanor counts of criminal recklessness.

Clark, 29, later told police that what Stefanski did was not in the best interest of their safety. She was arrested on a felony charge of neglect of a dependent. Clark’s daughter was placed with the Department of Child Services, the police report said.

Both Stefanski and Clark live in the 200 block of East Dewald Street.

Stefanski was being held in lieu of $13,000 bail. Clark’s bail was set at $2,500.