Gates Police Warn Parents About Underage Drinking Following Incident

(WHEC 10) Rochester

Gates police say one mother’s discovery this week serves as a lesson for others. Officers tell us the woman came home to find her teenage son and two of his friends drunk, and one of the teens was unconscious.

Now, police want parents to know how dangerous these situations can be.

We’re told, in this case, the mother is not facing any criminal charges. Gates police say she had her liquor cabinet locked up, and she didn’t think her 15-year-old son even knew where it was. This got us thinking. How many of you, even if you have kids in the house, might not lock up your liquor. You also may have beer in the fridge. Whether you realize it or not, police say you’re putting yourself at risk for a misdemeanor charge.

“Like each investigation, you look at it on its face and you evaluate,” said Officer Lance Duffy, Gates Police Department.

In this case, Gates police evaluated and determined that the mother of the 15-year-old boy took all of the precautions she could have.

“One of the 16-year-olds was actually unconscious. Obviously when you mix alcohol with a growing teenage body, it has different effects than an adult,” Duffy said.

But, because the mother locked the liquor cabinet, police say they’re not considering an endangering the welfare of a child charge.

“If we felt that the household didn’t take proper precautions to keep it away from the juvenile, or child, we probably would have considered doing that,” Duffy said.

That means if you have liquor in the house, and it’s not locked up, you could be held criminally liable if your child becomes dangerously drunk. To get rid of any doubt, police say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep alcohol out of the house, which is exactly what Steve Kunkle of Gates did when his kids were teens.

“Locks basically keep people honest. If they really want it, they’ll find a way to get to it,” said Kunkle, a father.

Such was the case on Thursday. It’s unclear exactly how much liquor the boys drank, but police say it is clear this could have ended much differently.

“Let’s say the mom didn’t get home for several hours. We could of maybe had a fatality,” said Duffy.

We’re told all three boys are fine. They went to the hospital and were treated and released.

Police are using this as incident as a warning. If you have alcohol in the house, and children have access to it, you are criminally responsible if something happens. Police ask that everyone take steps to keep everybody safe.

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