Witnesses detain suspected drunk driver out of concern for kids

Jani Smith is charged with DUI and child endangerment. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Jani Smith is charged with DUI and child endangerment. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) A Myrtle Beach woman is in jail, charged with DUI and child endangerment, after concerned citizens witnessed her erratic driving along Highway 501 and detained her and waited for police.

Early Wednesday morning, around 1 a.m. officers with Conway Police Department responded to the intersection of Laurel Street and 2nd Avenue to what was reported to be a fight in progress.

WMBF News obtained a police report that indicates that 33-year-old Jani Lee Smith of Myrtle Beach was driving a silver in color Nissan Xterra northbound on Highway 501.

Several witnesses stated in the report that they spotted the vehicle in Carolina Forest driving erratically, straddling lanes and nearly causing multiple accidents.

One of the witnesses noticed that there were small children in the car and attempted to stop Smith by blocking her path.

Another witness stated that they continued to follow the vehicle from Highway 501 into Conway after they noticed that Smith almost hit two cars. That witness and the first witness tried to block the Xterra while they notified police.

One of the vehicles that the Xterra almost struck while driving through Conway stated in the report that Smith was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. That witness was unaware that there were children inside the car at the time.

The third witness added that Smith entered a parking lot at 2nd Avenue and Laurel Street in Conway and circled the area several times.

When police arrived on scene, all the witnesses had managed to get Smith out of her car.

Smith was shouting that the witnesses were assaulting her, but all the witnesses stated that they detained Smith and waited for police out of concern for the children.

Officers could smell the odor of alcohol on Smith's breath.

After performing a sobriety test on scene, Jani Lee Smith was charged with DUI, possession of other controlled substances and child endangerment. Smith's bond has been set at $4,442.

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