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Mother arrested for DUI after ditching 3 kids at Duchesne gas station, deputies say

Published: Tuesday, July 15 2014 2:06 p.m. MDT

DUCHESNE — A Vernal woman's blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit when she was arrested Monday night after leaving her three children at a convenience store, sheriff's deputies said.

Dispatchers began receiving calls about 4:30 p.m. concerning a woman who was arguing with her children inside the Gateway Sinclair station, Duchesne County Sheriff's Lt. Jeremy Curry said.

The callers said the woman, who appeared to be "highly intoxicated," had left the store at 655 W. Main without the children, driving west out of Duchesne on U.S. 40, Curry said.

An "attempt-to-locate" was issued for the woman's vehicle. A ranger from nearby Starvation State Park spotted the car on the side of U.S. 40 about a mile from the gas station and detained the woman until deputies could arrive, Curry said.

Mindy Mareah Venditti, 38, was arrested and booked into the Duchesne County Jail for investigation of child abandonment and DUI. A test performed at the jail showed she had a blood-alcohol content of 0.206, Curry said, adding that Venditti told investigators she believed she was in Vernal, about 60 miles east.

Venditti's three children, who ranged in age from 6 to 13, were taken to the sheriff's office until their father could pick them up. The state Division of Child and Family Services was notified of the incident and has opened a case, Curry said.

Court records show this is Venditti's second DUI arrest in the past 30 days. On June 14, she was arrested by Heber City police and has been charged in justice court with DUI, a class B misdemeanor, and having an open container in a vehicle, a class C misdemeanor. Venditti has entered a not-guilty plea in that case.

Formal charges have not been filed in connection with Monday's arrest. Venditti is being held in jail in lieu of nearly $7,000 bail.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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