Updated: 2:17 p.m.
A Springfield woman was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment after multiple drivers reported a car towing three children — her 2-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and 8-year-old nephew — in a small, plastic red wagon going around a busy roundabout multiple times during rush hour.
Police were not initially aware of the third child and a third charge is now pending.
This story was first reported by The Register-Guard.
Lt. Scott McKee, a spokesperson for Springfield Police Department, said Friday over the phone that Alana Nicole Donahue, 27, admitted to officers that she was towing children behind her white Ford Taurus in a wagon attached with a rope.
Lt. McKee told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Donahue told police it wasn’t a big deal, that she was “showing the kids a good time,” and only driving 5 miles per hour.
According to Lt. McKee, witnesses saw something different.
“I talked to a witness today that said she saw them go by her house in their neighborhood and they were going like 30 miles an hour,” Lt. McKee said.
In a press release, police said that a witness reported the youngest child begin to cry after the wagon went up on two wheels during the trip.
“That same witness reported observing Donohue pull over and move the toddler from the wagon to the car and then continue driving with the 4-year-old and the 8-year-old still in the wagon,” police said.
Other witnesses told officials that Donahue was holding up traffic and then yelling at motorists, telling them to get out of her way and mind their own business.
Lt. McKee said there was “pretty heavy traffic” at the roundabout where Donahue was towing the children
“Given the time of day, it’s right at 5 o’clock, it’s a busy intersection,” Lt. McKee said. “It feeds from three different directions.”
Drivers reportedly became impatient and some were unable to see what was causing the delay. One motorist told police they pulled out around a car, almost causing a collision.
“The kids are on a short rope so there’s not a lot margin for error,” Lt. McKee said. “It’s really lucky that nothing more serious happened.”
Officers evaluated Donahue at the scene when she was arrested several hours later. She did not appear to be under the influence of intoxicants.
Officers contacted the Department of Human Services who placed Donahue’s children with another person. Donahue was booked at the Springfield Municipal Jail.
— Lizzy Acker