CENTER TOWNSHIP — A 20-year-old Portage man was taken into custody early Wednesday morning after police said they found him driving after drinking alcohol with a 6-month-old boy strapped to his chest.
Michael Arroyo immediately told police, "I'm sorry man, I can't get in trouble right now, I'm on probation," according to the incident report.
He was arrested on a preliminary felony charge of neglect of a dependent and a misdemeanor count of a minor consuming alcohol, police said. He was also issued traffic citations on allegations of a child safety restraint violation and driving without a valid license.
The county police officer said he pulled over Arroyo's 2001 Mazda at the Creekside Golf Course at 2:22 a.m. after seeing his vehicle swerve off Ind. 130 and then turn south on Froberg Road from the traffic lane rather than the turn lane.
The baby, which was his, was strapped to his chest in a carrier, police said. The baby was positioned between Arroyo and the steering wheel, which was clearly marked as being equipped with airbags.
He told police he was on his way to the Franklin House bar in Valparaiso to pick up his girlfriend, who is the baby's mother. He admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving and registered as drinking on a portable breath test, but passed most of the drunken driving tests.
Police said they contacted the baby's mother, who was on her way home with an Uber driver. She had the baby seat in her car left at the bar, so police had her place it in the Uber vehicle and the baby was taken home.
Police said the mother did not appear intoxicated and the baby was left in her care.
The baby's mother reportedly told police Arroyo was supposed to leave the baby in the care of an adult nephew staying at their house. She had no idea Arroyo had been drinking and chose to take their son, despite not having a baby seat in the vehicle.