Police arrest young driver, passengers

Columbus police arrested a 13-year-old girl and two passengers after receiving a report about an intoxicated driver.

At about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Jennifer VanVactor saw a white Chevrolet Blazer traveling south on Taylor Road near County Road 300N strike a curb as it turned into the entrance to a subdivision, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

When VanVactor approached the SUV, she noted the driver, later identified as the 13-year-old, subsequently switched seats with her front-seat passenger, Harris said.

When she spoke with the person now in the driver’s seat, identified as a 17-year-old male, she smelled a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, Harris said.

The 17-year-old later provided a breath sample of .088 percent and was arrested, Harris said.

A back-seat passenger, Joseph R. Chasteen, 18, Taylorsville, provided a breath sample of .017 percent and also was arrested on a preliminary charge of illegal consumption of alcohol, Harris said.

The 13-year-old girl passed a portable breath alcohol test but was taken into custody for operating a vehicle without a license, Harris said. Two other passengers, both juveniles, were released to their parents.

Police do not have information as to where the car’s occupants were prior to the traffic stop, and it is unknown if the 13-year-old was related to anyone else in the vehicle, Harris said.

Chasteen is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bond.

The 13-year-old and 17-year-old were detained at the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center, Harris said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.