Seventeen-year-old Melissa Jones was arrested and hauled to jail for being publicly drunk and disorderly.
But Jones hadn’t had a drop of alcohol.
The teen, who is autistic and has difficulties communicating, was at a store with a friend when an intoxicated patron became infuriated that the store employee refused to serve her. The girl allegedly intervened when the patron became aggressive. Both girls reportedly suffered severe bruising from the attacks, and when police arrived, Jones was hysterical and couldn’t speak.
The assaulter had fled, and Jones was arrested when police assumed she was intoxicated and causing a disturbance. Although Jones’ mother arrived at the store to defend her daughter and explain her condition, the police arrested Jones.
She was finger-printed, had her DNA tested, and spent ten hours in a jail cell before her mother could secure her release. She was scheduled to appear in court, but the stress proved to be too much for the teen.
“At the police station, a doctor confirmed she hadn’t been drinking,” notes Jones’ mother. “But still the police tried to pursue her through the courts.”
She attempted suicide during the eight-month wait for her court appearance.
After months of fighting, the court decided to drop the case against her last week.
Her mother, Christine Evans, 49, a training manager, yesterday said her daughter has been through “hell.”
“Having this hanging over her for the past eight months has had a terrible effect on her,” said Evans. “She has a basic understanding of right and wrong, so to be arrested for something she didn’t do was devastating. She has tried to commit suicide and is having weekly counselling. She hardly ever goes out any more.”
While the actual drunk customer, a 25-year-old woman, was found, she was not arrested for “lack of evidence.”
[Image via Shutterstock]