PSL Police: Drunk dad takes four kids on wild ride

By Tara Cardoso - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

PORT ST LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - After a driver in a red pick-up truck sideswiped his vehicle, Richard Smail got out of his car to confront the driver.

Smail was shocked at what he saw: Four small children playing in the passenger seat. He saw the driver of the two-seat truck drinking from a container that smelled like alcohol.

The driver denied he was drunk. But Smail, a retired firefighter, was concerned. He got back in the passenger seat of his car and called 911. His wife was in the driver's seat, and he directed her to follow the truck.

They followed the truck until Port St. Lucie Police picked up the pursuit. The driver of the pick-up, later identified as 33-year-old James Mayes, hit a truck driven by an off-duty officer, a pedestrian as well as one of the patrol cars that was trying to stop him.

Mayes, of Hobe Sound, eventually stopped and was taken to Martin County Jail. He was charged with child abuse, driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence. His license had been suspended in May when he was arrested for driving under the influence. He remains in jail without bail.

Three of his children were treated at Martin Memorial Hospital for bumps and bruises. The pedestrian who was struck is also recovering from minor injuries.

Stuart Police, Port St. Lucie Police and the Martin County Sheriff's Office all took part in the investigation.