Girl, 9, calls 911 while father drives drunk
Dispatchers described the girl as “hysterical” when she called 911 and said her father had been drinking during the entire trip to their grandparents' house
By Larry Hobbs
The Brunswick News
ST. SIMON'S ISLAND, Ga. — A very frightened 9-year-old girl called 911 from her father’s car Sunday afternoon, saying he was allegedly driving drunk on St. Simons Island and she feared they would crash, according to a Glynn County Police report.
The youngster later told police that they had traveled from their home in Atlanta to their grandparents’ house on St. Simons Island, adding that her father had allegedly been drinking alcohol during the entire trip, according to the police report.
The girl’s little sister also was in the car, which police caught up to at 105 Hart Dr. on St. Simons Island at about 4 p.m., according to a Glynn County Police report. According to the report, Wesley Charles Burgner, 36, allegedly spoke with “slurred, slow speech, had trouble standing, had troubling formulating sentences, stumbled when he walked and smelled of alcoholic beverage.”
Burgner remained Wednesday in the Glynn County Detention Center, charged with DUI less safe, two counts of endangering a child while driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license, jail records show.
Dispatchers described the girl as “hysterical” when she called 911 at 3:53 p.m. Sunday, the report said. She could tell dispatchers only that they were in a white and brown car. Dispatchers sent a electronic “ping” signal to track the car’s location and told police it was near Frederica Road and Tolomato Trace when the call came in, the report said.
The girl “advised dispatch that she was in the car with her father who was drinking and driving and she was afraid that he was going to wreck,” the police report said.
As police were searching the area for the car, dispatchers reported it had come to a stop on Hart Drive, just north of Frederica Road. Police arrived at the home of the Burgner’s parents and the girls’ grandparents, where Burgner allegedly held the young daughter and was “visibly intoxicated,” the report said.
Burgner was not in the 2008 Buick when police arrived at the home. However, another police officer said he saw Bugner driving the “solid beige” vehicle after the call came out. The officer said he did not stop it because it did not fit the description dispatchers gave of a brown and white car, the report said. The officer arrived at the home and recognized the car as the one he saw Burgner allegedly driving on the road, the report said.
Burgner allegedly told police that he was taking his daughters to the St. Simons Pier from his grandparents’ home, but he turned around and drove back because his daughter was upset with him. The girl told police “that when they were in the car she begged her dad to pull over and he refused,” the report said.
The girl told police the ordeal started earlier that day when Burgner took the two girls on an “unplanned” trip from Atlanta to St. Simons Island on Sunday. She told police there were allegedly two bottles of alcohol in the car. She told police “that on the way to St. Simons her father was drinking the whole way,” the report said. She told police she was upset with her dad for allegedly drinking.
Police checked his driver’s license and discovered it had been suspended for “Implied Consent” on Jan. 20. Georgia’s Implied Consent law states that a person’s license will be suspended for refusing to submit to blood, breath or urine tests when police suspect DUI due to drugs or alcohol. Burgner allegedly refused requests from county police officers to submit to a field sobriety test.
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