Police: Mother left two children unattended to drink on New Year’s Day

Jennifer Grooms is accused of leaving her children at home alone so she could go drinking.
Jennifer Grooms is accused of leaving her children at home alone so she could go drinking.
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Updated: 1/03 10:30 am
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Palm Beach Post) -- While Jennifer Grooms celebrated New Year’s Day with drinks at a local restaurant, she left her two young children at home alone, city police said.

Police arrested the 29-year-old suburban Palm Beach Gardens woman on charges that included child abuse, disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence.

She was released under court-ordered supervision Thursday.

Police were called Wednesday night to Vic & Angelo’s, a restaurant on PGA Boulevard west of Interstate 95, after Grooms allegedly argued with a valet who refused to give her her keys.

Grooms appeared to be unsteady on her feet, her speech was slurred and she had the smell of alcohol on her breath, according to a police probable-cause affidavit made public Thursday. She reportedly told officers that she was “a bit tipsy” from a few glasses of wine but was OK to drive.

The officer offered to call a taxi or someone Grooms knew. Grooms refused and told the officer it was his job to drive her home, the report said. She then told him that her children, ages 10 and 6, were home alone.

The officer explained he could not drive her home and asked Grooms again if he could call a cab. She refused and demanded her car keys.

The officer asked Grooms if she could afford a cab — and if she didn’t have cab fare, how she was able to buy drinks at the restaurant.

“Look at me. I don’t need money,” Grooms reportedly told the officer.

She demanded her car keys. The officer retrieved them from the valet and gave them to her, but warned that she would subject to arrest if she attempted to drive.

She began to walk to the parking lot and used her key to unlock the door remotely. The officer stopped her and again told her not to drive. Grooms became belligerent and challenged the officer to arrest her, the affidavit said. She was then arrested for disorderly conduct.

Grooms wrestled with the officer for several minutes as he tried to handcuff her, the affidavit said. She was taken to Gardens Medical Center for medical clearance.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to Grooms’ apartment to confirm whether any children were there and found the two children without adult supervision.

The children were later turned over to the custody of an unidentified relative, and the Department of Children and Families was notified.
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