Thursday, January 21, 2021

Underage Girl Forced to Drive for Drunk Neighbor

John Eugene Allen

Roland police arrested a Fort Smith, Ark., man Jan. 8 after he allegedly had a minor drive him to different casinos and wait in the vehicle while he went inside to play and drink alcohol, court records reveal. 

John Eugene Allen, 57, was charged with child neglect, a felony that is punishable by up to life in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. He was released on $5,500 bond. 

According to the police report, at 9 p.m. Jan. 8, a Roland police officer was dispatched to the Cherokee Casino in reference to an intoxicated male who had two children in his vehicle. When the officer arrived, he spoke with casino security staff, who told him the man, Allen, had left two children in a vehicle in the parking lot while he was consuming alcohol in the casino. Security advised that Allen was very intoxicated and that they had stopped him from leaving with the children. 

When asked who the children were, Allen said they were his neighbor’s kids but he was unsure of their names. The children are ages 6 and 14. 

At the vehicle, the children gave their names and their mother’s name so police could contact her at home in Fort Smith. The children, who said they were hungry, were then taken to a private dining area in the casino and given something to eat. 

Going back to speak with Allen, the Roland officer learned that he had gotten drunk and let the 14-year-old drive but then said he did the driving. Security footage revealed that the teen was behind the wheel on two different occasions. Allen was then detained. 

The children told police they had also spent some time that day at the Choctaw Casino in Pocola, Okla., before traveling to Roland. She said they then went to Sallisaw and back to the casino. She said she drove because Allen was so drunk that he almost ran off the road and at one point almost struck another vehicle. 

When asked how she knew Allen, the teen said she knew him as a neighbor and that he had asked her mother to borrow her van and that he was going to take the children to get some food. She said they had been gone since about noon that day. 

The children’s mother was called to come pick up the children at the Roland Police Department and Allen was transported to the Sequoyah County Detention Center.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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