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Wrong-way driver accused of leaving child alone in Grand Forks hotel room

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A Mandaree, N.D., woman is accused of leaving her 5-year-old daughter unsupervised in a Grand Forks hotel room early Wednesday while she drove the wrong way on Interstate 29 under the influence of prescription drugs, prosecutors say.

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According to court documents, Pauline Casarez was stopped for driving the wrong way on Interstate 29 at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her daughter was alone in their room at Canad Inns. Casarez was under the influence of drugs and was driving without a license or insurance, the complaint says. Casarez faces charges of neglecting a child under 6, a Class B felony, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The child is now in protective custody.

Casarez also faces four misdemeanor charges.

In a second case, Casarez is accused of repeatedly punching her 13-year-old daughter in the face. The girl told investigators that her mother had punched her five times in the face on April 16, leaving a two-inch bruise and scratch marks. Prosecutors said Casarez was misusing prescription drugs at the time of the alleged incident.

Casarez faces a Class B misdemeanor charge for simple assault. The maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Magistrate John Thelen ordered that unless social services recommends supervised visitation, Casarez should not have contact with the child, who is living with a relative.

Because of the severity of the charges and the fact that Casarez is from out of town, Thelen set her bond at $3,500 Wednesday. Mandaree is a town about 70 miles north of Dickinson, N.D., on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 13.

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