East Dallas Dad Cleared of Drunken Driving, Child Abandonment Charges [Updated]

Always follow proper installation instructions, and never ever leave in your wrecked-out car.
Always follow proper installation instructions, and never ever leave in your wrecked-out car.

Update on September 13: The charges against Michael Ryan were dropped this week after a grand jury failed to find enough evidence to indict him for DWI and child-abandonment charges.

Grand jury notes and deliberations are not subject to public disclosure, but Ryan says he was neither drunk nor high. He had just finished making breakfast for his wife and 1-year-old daughter that Sunday morning, he says, when they left to visit his parents in Las Colinas.

He was traveling down Goliad when he struck a parked car and experienced a seizure, though he's not sure if the two events happened in that order. From that point on, he remembers nothing.

"From what I understand got out and told the cops that I was just walking and didn't have a child," he says.

Police called his wife, a doctor, who retrieved their daughter. Ryan was taken to jail, where he remained for 24 hours.

Original post: A word of advice to all you new dads out there: Do not, under any circumstances, get drunk and drive around with your kid in the back. If you somehow forget this rule, drive carefully, taking extra care to avoid other vehicles. If you also choose to ignore this piece of advice and can't help but plow into an entire row of parked vehicles to the point that your own car becomes inoperable, and if you feel that you must abandon the car before police arrive, please take your infant child with you. It's for the best, really.

Alas, this advice comes too late for Michael Thomas Ryan. The 31-year-old was piloting his 2011 Lexus SUV through the typically quiet streets of Lakewood Heights, the East Dallas neighborhood between Lakewood and the M Streets, when he allegedly plowed into no fewer than four cars parked on the 6100 block of Goliad Avenue, then drove off.

The police officer who was responding to the scene hadn't yet reached the cars in question when she encountered Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel heading down Goliad in the opposite direction. They had checked out the damage and were now following the deep gouge marks left in the road they suspected would lead to the reckless driver.

The cop joined them as they followed the trail west on Goliad across Skillman, then north onto Greenville Avenue, then, one block later, east on Palo Pinto. The trail ended there, in the 5700 block of Palo Pinto, but they had found what they were looking for: Ryan's wrecked-out Lexus.

The SUV was missing one front tire, hence the gouge marks. It was also missing Ryan, who witnesses had spotted walking down the sidewalk and turning onto Matilda. In the back seat, firefighters found a child, whose exact age isn't listed in a police report but who is younger than 1.

Police caught up with Ryan in the 2400 block of Matilda and placed him under arrest for DWI and child abandonment. Officers summoned the child's mother, who arrived moments later from their home a few blocks away to retrieve her child.

Ryan has since bonded out of jail. He'll have a tougher time convincing Mom to let him drive that kid anywhere ever again.

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