State police: DUI suspect had 8 people in car, including 5 kids

Luis Villa, 32, faces a number of charges after police said he drove under the influence with five children in his car. (Police photo)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence man was arrested in the wee hours of Monday morning on charges of driving intoxicated — and police said he had too many people in the vehicle to be legal.

Rhode Island State Police troopers stopped the car of Luis Villa, 32, about 1:10 a.m. on Updike Street in Providence.

Eight people were in Villa’s five-passenger car, including five children between the ages of 2 and 16, as well as a pregnant woman, state police spokeswoman Laura Meade Kirk said in a statement Monday.

“Several of the passengers were sitting on each other’s laps in the car; none were wearing seat belts,” said Kirk.

Villa was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, refusal to submit to a chemical test, and obstructing an officer. If he’s convicted on the DUI charge, additional penalties could be incurred because children under the age of 13 were in the car.

Villa’s charges also include traffic citations for seat belt and child restraint violations, driving without evidence of registration, driving without evidence of insurance, and failure to use turn signals.

Villa was held overnight pending arraignment later in the day Monday.

State police Capt. Matthew Moynihan said Villa was just one of five people arrested and accused of driving drunk or high on drugs this weekend. Among the cases, troopers arrested a Cranston man Friday that they believe was intoxicated. He claimed he was taking his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter to daycare.

“We’re especially concerned when motorists suspected of driving under the influence are doing so with young children in their car, recklessly endangering innocent young lives. That is absolutely unacceptable,” Moynihan said in a statement.

According to the Rhode Island Judiciary website, Villa was cited back in 2014 for his passenger not wearing a seat belt.