Darien mom charged for allowing drinking at 18-year-old’s party
A Darien woman was charged with failure to halt possession of liquor by a minor after an underage drinking party was held at her home. Officers were dispatched to Mansfield Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. on June 27 after a report from the department’s anonymous tip line.
An officer approaching the area could hear loud music coming from the home in question and saw several taxi services leaving the front of the home. As officers pulled into the driveway five youths were seen running away from the house and another two tried to walk down to Mansfield Avenue. The officer, noticing that they were both clearly intoxicated, instructed them to go back to the home. One of them almost tripped and fell as they were walking while the other had no shoes on at the time.
When asked the two would not immediately admit what house they had been at, but eventually admitted the location of the party. Officers told them to have a parent come to the scene to pick them up as they met with the owner of the home, Debra McLaren.
McLaren said she had just throw an 18th birthday party for her daughter, which had started at 6 p.m. The party had begun with about 20 of her friends, but more people began arriving later. She said she had been home for the duration of the party and had come outside to check on things several times during the evening. McLaren told police she wasn’t aware of any alcohol being consumed until about 9:30 p.m., at which point she claimed she ended the party and told the youths to take Uber rides home.
However, when questioned by a second officer McLaren said she became of the alcohol at 10:30 p.m. Based on the level of intoxication displayed by the teens, officers concluded that they had been drinking for an extended amount of time. When questioned further McLaren allegedly told officers “I could really use a break.”
While searching outside the home officers found a table and cups setup for beer pong next to the pool and several empty containers of alcohol in a garbage bag. McLaren told police there were no additional partygoers at the house, but during a walkthrough officers found five more teen girls in bedrooms. McLaren claimed she did not know where all the kids were since they had started running. According to police McLaren’s daughter had fled the home when officers arrived.
Based on their investigation of the party officers determined that McLaren should have been aware of the alcohol consumption at her home and she was issued a misdemeanor summons. She was released on a promise to appear in court on July 10.
McLaren's Stamford-based criminal defense lawyer Mark Sherman said his client neither provided nor permitted underage drinking to take place. "As soon as she learned there was alcohol on the property, she immediately began confiscating it and required each guest to call Ubers and taxis. That's why the ubers were there when the police arrived." Sherman is confident that the court case can be resolved "quickly and fairly" in Stamford Superior Court.