Deputies with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico were on duty when they noticed a vehicle swerving.
The deputies, Roger Garcia and Sam Rodriguez, immediately pulled the car over, and that is when they suspected that the driver might be inebriated.
The deputies were shocked by what they say when they arrived at the vehicle. Investigators say that Jeffrey Salas, 24 was driving drunk.
They found three small children in the car with the drunk father. The children were 5-yeard-old, 2-years-old and 2-months-old.
The 2-month-old child was in a car seat, but was not buckled in.
“We had to remove him from the kids’ view. The last thing we wanted to do was expose these kids to a negative law enforcement (encounter) with their father,” Rodriguez said.
All three children needed something to eat.
“What hurt me the most is when we asked (about the last time they ate), they couldn’t remember. And they were hungry,” Garcia said.
While on the scene, Garcia mixed baby formula by flashlight while Rodriquez held the child. Rodriquez kept the child wrapped in a warm, pink blanket that he got from his church while feeding the baby.
“It was a bunch of cops in uniform trying to make a bottle on the side of the road. We had a cold water bottle and we’re trying to use our heater to warm up the water for him,” said Rodriguez.
“I’ve always baby-sat since I was a kid, but I’ve never done it with a gun on my belt in the passenger seat of a patrol car with a rifle next to me,” Rodriguez continued.
Three other deputies arrived on the scene to help and went to McDonald’s to get food for the other children.
The deputies also changed the dirty diapers.
“It was really hard to be professional when we had such strong opinions about the morality of the situation. We really tried to keep it together for the welfare of the kids. We tried to be happy with them and give them a secure feeling,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriquez and Garcia said there are a few things to be learned from being a father and an uncle.
Rodriquez isn’t a father yet, but after seeing the pictures of him feeding the baby, his wife said, “Honey, it’s time to start a family.”
The father, Salas, was arrested. Later that night, the kids were released to the Children, Youth and Families Department.
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