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Mother in hood ride gets 6-month sentence


FORT WAYNE -- The mother who allowed one of her children to be tied to the hood of a car with an intoxicated man at the wheel was sentenced to six months behind bars Monday.

Jessica Clark, 30, of the 200 block of East DeWald Street, pleaded guilty in July to a single charge of neglect of a dependent.

Along with the three children of 29-year-old Aaron Stefanski, Clark's 7-year-old daughter was secured with yellow tow straps to the hood of a 1980s era Chevrolet for a ride south on Fairfield.

The manager of the Belmont Beverage, 2116 Fairfield Ave., called police after he saw Stefanski secure the children to the hood with yellow tow straps. A deputy U.S. marshal in the area heard the call over his police radio and saw the car, with the children strapped to the hood, headed south on Fairfield Avenue.

Responding officers smelled alcohol on Stefanski's breath after stopping the vehicle with four children strapped to the hood, according to court documents.

Last week, Stefanski was sentenced to 18 months on home detention and 2 1/2 years on probation for multiple counts of neglect of a dependent, with no time behind bars.

But Clark will spend some time in prison. On Monday, Allen Superior Judge Wendy Davis sentenced Clark to 2 1/2 years in prison, but ordered two years suspended and to be served on probation. The first six months of her probation period will be served on home detention.

Clark has prior misdemeanor convictions for false informing, public intoxication and criminal conversion and was on a suspended prison sentence at the time of this offense.