Darien mom charged for not intervening in house party
Updated 11:40 am, Wednesday, July 5, 2017
DARIEN — A 50-year-old Darien woman was arrested for allegedly failing to stop underage drinking at her 18-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
Darien police got an anonymous tip about an underage drinking party on Mansfield Avenue June 27. When officers arrived around 10:30 p.m., several taxi services were arriving and loud music was blasting from a house from which teenagers were running away. An officer intercepted two drunk teens attempting to flee down Mansfield Avenue. One teen tripped and fell; the other wasn’t wearing shoes. The teens’ speech was slurred and their eyes were glassy and bloodshot. They told the officer they didn’t know whose house they’d been at but eventually identified the home as the McLaren residence.
Police went to the house and found the homeowner, Debra McLaren, who’d been home throughout the 18th birthday party she threw for her daughter and had stopped in on the gathering at several points. When the party started around 6 p.m., there were around 20 teenaged guests, but “friends of friends” began arriving at the home. The Darien mother told the police that around 9:30 p.m., she became aware the teenagers were drinking and told everyone “the party is over.” However, McLaren later told a second officer she didn’t know about the drinking until around the time police arrived and broke up the party.
An officer asked McLaren where the alcohol have come from. The woman told the officer the guests had been dropped off and she didn’t know how the alcohol got there. Police then indicated the guests must have been drinking awhile, based on how drunk some of teenagers appeared. At that point in the questioning, McLaren told officers she “could really use a break.”
Officers located multiple alcohol containers — some empty — and a setup for a game of beer pong. They also found five teenagers in the bedrooms after McLaren told police there were no more teenagers in the house. Police asked McLaren why she didn’t mention them, she told police the guests were running and she wasn’t sure who went where. McLaren’s daughter also ran from the home when police arrived.
Based on their investigation, police determined McLaren knew or should have known about the drinking. She was issued a misdemeanor summons for failure to halt possession of alcohol by a minor. She was released on a promise to appear and will appear in Stamford Superior Court July 10.
McLaren’s attorney, Mark Sherman, said McLaren neither provided nor permitted drinking in her home.
“As soon as [McLaren] learned there was alcohol on the property, she immediately began confiscating it and required each guest to call Ubers and taxis,” Sherman said. “That’s why Ubers were there when the police arrived.”
Sherman said he believes the matter will be resolved in court “quickly and fairly.”