Grandmother arrested for DUI with 9-year-old grandchild in front - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Grandmother arrested for DUI with 9-year-old grandchild in front seat

Grandmother arrested for DUI with 9-year-old in car. (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Grandmother arrested for DUI with 9-year-old in car. (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

A woman who has a lengthy criminal record was charged with driving under the influence after police said she crashed her van into a business with her 9-year-old grandchild in the vehicle.

But the grandmother charged with DUI is also the mother of a murdered teenager.

"It ain't easy. It's a hard job," Stokes said last year, talking about her murdered 15-year-old daughter Cateria, who was shot and killed in a drive by shooting while sleeping in her own bed.

According to the police affidavit, employees at the Rock House Live in the 2500 block off Poplar Avenue heard a "boom" Wednesday around 7 p.m. and came out to investigate. The witnesses said they saw a tan colored van that had hit the building leaving the scene.

Ken Casstevens is a bartender at Rock House Live. He and another man ran outside to see what the noise was when they heard it. That's when they saw the van, and the driver.

The driver, identified as Joyce Stokes, was accompanied by her 9-year-old grandson, who was in the front seat.

"She seemed very much under the influence of something," Casstevens said.

Casstevens said the 9-year-old child was terrified.

"Just crying crazily," he said.

Police said witnesses spoke to the driver after she had pulled into the parking lot of 2600 Poplar, just east of the restaurant, where they took her keys from her after she tried leaving again. 

"Her mini van was smoking and fluid spilling out everywhere," Casstevens said. "I said 'you can't drive. Stop."

Stokes finally did stop.

"She tried to get out, she could barely walk," Casstevens said. "Her poor grandson, so scared and just crying his eyes out. It was horrible to see."

Once officers arrived, witnesses turned the keys to the vehicle over to the police. The affidavit said police smelled "what appeared to be alcohol on her person. She had sleepy, watery eyes, and spoke in a very low, slurred, and mumbled tone."

Stokes told police she had been drinking earlier that day.

Stokes was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The Department of Children's Services was contacted regarding the grandson. They turned the child over to the custody of his mother, according to the affidavit.

However, this is not Stokes' first brush with the law. In fact, it is not even her first DUI. She has a previous charge of DUI, but that was almost 20 years ago. In addition, she also has charges for prostitution related crimes, possession and distribution of obscene material, and robbery-- just part of the three page long criminal history.

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