Man found asleep in car close to home faces DWI, child endangerment charges

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PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. -- A Platte City, Mo. man busted under suspicion of DWI is facing a child endangerment charge, too. Witnesses say his four-year-old son was in the car with him.

Court records say 33-year-old Jesse Bennett was found passed out in his car Sunday night only a tenth of a mile from his home. When neighbors tried to figure out why the car was parked in the middle of the street, they found the boy in his dad's lap.

Jackie Fisher was one of several people who surrounded Bennett's car on Gates Drive West, but Bennett wasn't who caught their attention, it was the four-year-old.

"The little boy was kinda going around the car, kept saying, 'my daddy, he's asleep, my daddy's asleep,'" Fisher explained.

Fisher wasn't sure what was wrong with the boy's father, until she tried to talk to him.

"I went around the car to the driver's side and I hollered at him, and he didn't answer me and then I could smell alcohol," said Fisher

Fisher said her suspicions was confirmed when Bennett spoke.

"One of the guys with me said, 'Do you know where you are?' and he said, 'United States Marine Corps.' Well, we knew then he was not with the program," Fisher remembered.

Court documents say Bennett struggled to remove the keys from the ignition, appeared disoriented and had to hold onto his car to keep his balance when police showed up to the scene. Police also found an open bottle of vodka in the passenger seat.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd filed the charges Monday.

"Drinking and driving is a terrible crime in and of itself, but there's a reason the legislature has also made a specific crime of child endangerment for driving drunk while a child is in the car," explained Zahnd.

Bennett faces a DWI charge and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He posted a $1,500 bond and is out of jail. There was no answer at his home Tuesday afternoon.

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