The evening of Wednesday, Nov. 20, an officer with the Onamia Police Department observed an erratic driver on Hwy. 169. In the process of carrying out a traffic stop, the officer learned of a child welfare check tied to the driver earlier that day which indicated drug use. The driver, Rachel Renee Cash, 35, of Onamia, was arrested on DWI charges as well as an insurance and instruction permit violation.

According to the criminal complaint:

Around 7:23 p.m. on Nov. 20, an officer observed a passenger car heading northbound on Hwy. 169 that appeared to be weaving. The car turned onto Railroad Ave, and the complaint indicates the driver seemed to be turning to evade the officer. The officer also observed the driver making this turn jerkily. As the white light on the rear of the vehicle appeared to be broken, the officer initiated a traffic stop for the equipment violation. Approaching the vehicle, he noted that red tape had attempted to secure the rear tailgate light but had come loose, leading to white light at the vehicle’s rear.

Making contact with the driver, the officer observed signs of impairment from the driver, including flailing arms and flaccid muscle movement, which suggested use of the stimulant. The officer informed the driver of the loose tape. The officer asked the driver for ID, but she appeared unable to locate any. Identifying herself as Rachel Cash, she informed the officer that she needed to clean the trash out of her car, adding that she had ID, insurance, and everything was legal. When asked for proof of insurance, she indicated it was in the back hatch of the car.

At this time, the officer observed a young child sleeping in a car seat. Running Cash’s information back in the squad car, the officer found that she had a valid Instruction Only Permit and one DUI back in 2002. He was waved back over to the car by Cash, who presented him with a Mille Lacs Band ID card. The officer asked if she had anything to drink that day, and Cash replied that she hadn’t, saying, “only a long drive.” During their conversation, Cash began eating a sandwich in a yellow McDonald’s wrapper.

The officer observed that Cash’s speech was at times slurred and rapid and her eyes were watery and fluttery, and her pupils were constricted despite the low light conditions of the unlit gravel road.

Returning to the squad car and reviewing Cash’s information, the officer located a welfare check issued for the child the morning of that same day, as a concerned reporting party had told the child’s former foster guardian that Cash was driving around high with the child.

The officer reached out to both the reporting party and the former caregiver. The caregiver was able to verify the information regarding the welfare check earlier that day.

The officer performed a variety of sobriety tests on Cash, on which she performed poorly, demonstrating a lack of balance and concentration, according to the complaint. Cash was asked when she last used meth, and she replied that it had been three days ago and that she had been let out of jail just six days ago. The officer advised that evidence seemed to indicate she had used that day, but Cash continued to deny those allegations. According to the complaint, she stated there was nothing on her and nothing illegal in her vehicle.

Cash was arrested for child endangerment and a DUI at 7:59 p.m. The resident of the nearby home Cash had been headed to agreed to take custody of the three-year-old child. A search warrant for blood or urine was ordered.

Cash has been charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of driving while impaired (with the presence of a child as an aggravating factor), which carry a maximum prison sentence of one year and/or a $3,000 fine; one misdemeanor count of failing to carry proof of insurance, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 90 days and/or an $1,000 fine; and one misdemeanor instructor’s permit violation, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days and/or a $1,000 fine.

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