Providence woman charged with driving drunk with 4 kids in the car

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence woman faced a judge Friday, accused of putting the lives of four children at risk by driving drunk with them in the car.

Rhode Island State Police said troopers observed an SUV speeding through South Providence at about 1 a.m. Friday, running several stop signs in the process.

Troopers stopped the vehicle and said they found four children inside, ages 2, 5, 7 and 11. The three younger children were not wearing seat belts or secured in car seats, according to police.

The driver, Phyllis Lee Coates, was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence. Police said she admitted to drinking a bottle of wine and was threatening and spitting on the troopers.

One of the children, who was visibly upset, referred to Coates as her aunt, police said.

Coates, 20, of Thackery Street, was arraigned Friday on four counts of cruelty to or neglect of a child, as well as driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test, threatening a public official, and disorderly conduct. Her bail was set at $10,000 with surety.

Police said Coates was reportedly watching the children while their mother was working. After having trouble reaching their mother, police were able to contact their stepfather, who took the children into his care. The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) was notified of the incident, according to police.

In addition to the criminal charges, police also cited Coates for five counts of failure to stop at a stop sign, three seat belt violations and speeding.