By Shereen Siewert

A 23-year-old woman convicted of driving drunk with her three small children inside the vehicle, then abandoning them at a Wausau gas station will spend two years on probation, part of a withheld sentence issued this week.

Alana Raymond, of Port Edwards, faced charges filed in December 2019 in Marathon County Circuit Court of three counts of first-offense drunken driving with a passenger younger than 13, three counts of child neglect and three counts of felony child abandonment.

As part of a plea agreement, Circuit Judge Greg Strasser dismissed the felony child abandonment charges and two of the OWI charges. Raymond was convicted Wednesday of first-offense drunken driving with a passenger younger than 13 and three counts of child neglect.

According to the criminal complaint, police responded in the early morning hours of Dec. 23, 2019 to a report of a parked vehicle with three small children inside at a gas station on Grand Avenue in Wausau. All three children were sleeping in car seats; the vehicle was left with its lights on and keys in the ignition but was not running, court documents state.

An employee at the gas station told police the car had been in the lot for between 30 and 45 minutes before police arrived.

Officers reviewed surveillance video that showed the driver pull the vehicle into the parking lot, park, and get into a waiting vehicle.

Another officer located a woman matching the description of the driver who flagged the officer down to say she was lost. That woman, later identified as Raymond, initially denied having a vehicle in the parking lot and allegedly told police she was waiting for a friend to pick her up.

Raymond underwent field sobriety tests before agreeing to a breath sample and chemical test of her blood. After an officer read her her rights, the officer asked Raymond if she would willingly answer questions, to which she allegedly replied, “Nope, not gonna answer shit.”

Court records show a preliminary breath test showed Raymond had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.228 percent, nearly three times the 0.08 percent legal limit for driving.

On the OWI charge, Raymond was sentenced to 35 days in jail with a $1,555 fine. Her driver’s license is revoked for 15 months.

On the misdemeanor child neglect charges, Judge Strasser withheld sentencing and ordered Raymond to spend two years on probation. In a withheld sentence, A withheld sentence, the defendant is placed on probation and no sentence is assessed. If Raymond is revoked she still faces the same maximum penalty for the charges of which she was convicted.

During the same hearing, Raymond was also sentenced to one year of probation in an earlier case for which she was in a deferred sentencing agreement. The two probation sentences will be served at the same time.