A woman who authorities say ditched her kids to go have a few drinks ended up in jail after battling police and paramedics in a restaurant parking lot.
At one point, Jennifer Karen Grooms told a police officer it was his job to drive her home because she had left her two children there alone, according to an arrest report.
Deputies found Grooms’ children, ages 6 and 10, by themselves at her Lake Park apartment. They were unsure where their mom went, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report. The two, who said they’d been alone for a half-hour to an hour, were picked up from the home because, by that time, Grooms was in jail.
The incident started when Grooms, 29, called police around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, New Year’s Day, to complain that valets at a Palm Beach Gardens restaurant wouldn’t give her keys back because they thought she was drunk, according to the report.
When officers showed up at Vic and Angelo’s restaurant, they agreed with the valet. Grooms, who had the smell of alcohol on her breath, was loud, unsteady on her feet and slurring her words, the report said. She said she was “a bit tipsy” from drinking a few glasses of wine, but OK to drive.
Handed a breathalyzer to prove she wasn’t drunk, Grooms laughed, blew into it and sucked on it, then told the officer she was doing “a trick I learned.”
She refused offers to call a taxi or someone who could pick her up, telling one Palm Beach Gardens officer to take her home himself. He asked how she could afford drinks at the restaurant if she didn’t have money and she said, “Look at me, I don’t need money,” according to the report.
After Grooms demanded her keys back and said she’d find a way home, the officer passed them to her, but told her she’d be arrested if she tried to drive. She walked toward the car anyway and, when the officer told her not to drive, screamed and challenged him to arrest her, which he did out of concern she’d “kill someone if not herself,” the report said.
Grooms did not go quietly. She pulled away as officers tried to handcuff her and then said she was having an anxiety attack in the back of the patrol car, the report said. Paramedics were called, but Grooms screamed and fought them off when they arrived, kicking at the police officers who struggled to get her back into the car.
All the while, restaurant patrons gathered and gawked, according to the report.
She was taken to the hospital and immediately medically cleared.
Later, as an officer completed the arrest report, Grooms slipped out of her handcuffs and got out of the patrol car by reaching through the window and opening the door. Officers had left the window cracked because of her anxiety issues. Again, it took several minutes and three officers to get her back in the car, according to the report.
Palm Beach Gardens police asked the sheriff’s office to check on the kids, and that’s when deputies found the two alone at the apartment.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Grooms has no prior criminal history in the state.
After Wednesday’s ordeal, she was charged with disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest without violence, escape and two counts of child neglect. Grooms spent the rest of the night and part of Thursday at the Palm Beach County Jail before being released around 2 p.m. on $9,000 bail, county records show.