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

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.

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.