Kaja takes a healthy sip of her chardonnay.
“I just got out of prison two weeks ago.”
She had been living in Delaware and went to jail for DUI charges in connection with a four-car crash along the 300 block of Spring Mill Road in Villanova back in December of 2016.
Lower Merion police said Kaja was intoxicated at the time of the collision. Police also identified her as being at fault for the crash.
One person was taken to an area hospital with leg and arm pain. Two of the cars had to be towed from the scene. Kaja’s minor child, who was also in the car at the time of the crash, was not injured.
She was arraigned and later released on bail. She had been charged with DUI, endangering the welfare of children, improper child restraint, speeding and other citations.
Police say this was her second DUI arrest in Lower Merion following a crash.
According to police, Kaja was arrested Oct. 22, 2007 for a head-on crash on Conshohocken State Road near Henry Lane. She later pleaded guilty to that offense. Police reported that she was given a sentence of three days to six months in the county prison. She was ordered to pay a fine and costs. She also sentenced to 2 years of probation.
I will note that this Kaja doesn’t fit the socially upwardly mobile mold of the two other Main Line DUI women that were busted for the same thing. Same area, similar age range, but Kaja is a repeat DUI offender. At that time, she blew a 0.38 blood-alcohol content, nearly five times the legal limit.
Kaja was taken to Montgomery County Prison in lieu of $7,500 bail. According to an arrest warrant, an officer asked Kaja if she had been drinking and she stated, ‘Well, ya.’ Then, according to the warrant, when asked to submit to a field sobriety test, she responded by “stating she was ‘smashed’ and that she in no way should be operating a motor vehicle.”
One other driver in the crash was treated for injuries. Kaja’s 5-year-old son was not hurt, but police say he was not restrained in a child seat.
Court records show Kaja pleaded guilty to drunk driving and causing a serious injury crash following a 2007 accident.
She is the third mother charged with driving drunk and crashing her vehicle with her child in the backseat in the past four months in Lower Merion.
I will ask some of the same questions I asked before:
What has gone wrong here? How do families not know if someone is having issues? Do that many people really in this day and age routinely drive around comfortably numb? And who exactly let her get behind the wheel of a car? Who lets an intoxicated young mother get behind the wheel of a car with a child in the back seat?
Kaja is a repeat offender. With these new charges she went to jail. They reported that her ex husband has the child. Except if she is a repeat offender, how is it she is allowed to drive anyone around, let alone drive herself?
I will say it again that to me this is an alarming issue. And with now multiple incidents (different women) to hit the news a couple of months apart, I will state again that I truly see this as an issue.
But if we’re honest, by varying degrees this is not a new issue. It’s just not one discussed in public as much as whispered down the lane.
Once again, I want to try to show these women compassion. But if I am brutally honest, with this one I am having a hard time doing so. Why? Because this woman seems to have “oops, done it again” and wow, when do you stop? When does the being a mother gene kick in?
Alcoholism is an awful disease. I have friends who have been “in the program” for years. Including now not so young moms. Some have been successful working their programs, others not so much.
I received a lot of off-line feedback from women who had experienced issues with alcohol and/or had been a child of one or more alcoholic parents. They thanked me for talking about it. And shared some heart wrenching stories of their own. I won’t betray those confidences, but I applaud them for being brave and dealing with it.
Some people with alcohol issues never hit the bottom to stop, some do. They have to want it. You have to want to get better.
So Kaja a young mother from the Main Line sat in jail for seven months unable to post bail. Somewhere, someone is undoubtedly trying to help her 5-year-old make sense of all of it. Can you imagine being that child? Accident, noise, mahem, sirens….mom being taken away in the back of a police car.
My heart aches for the children. The smallest and almost silent victims.
And no parent wants to judge another parent, but this is hard to wrap my head around. I guess at the end of the day I don’t get how you put the alcohol first, child last.
Here is hoping something good happens for this latest DUI incarceration. Kaja seemed like she was on a collision course of destruction given her past decisions and choices.
She could have killed quite a few people including herself and her child.
Her eyes are tearing up and I’m sitting there thinking about her in an orange jumpsuit sitting in jail for the last seven months. Sharing a big cell with a dozen other women sleeping in bunks. I think of the fear she must have had every day she was in there.
It was all over the news when it happened. But I don’t follow the news so I never saw it.
She’s only been out for two weeks! I’m shocked and amazed by this story. She said she’s gotten her Real Estate license and went to bartending school so she thinks she’ll do that. She’s living in an apartment in Manayunk, and her mother has been helping her financially.
Obviously she’s lost the privilege to drive for awhile. She’s also on probation and has to check in periodically with her parole officer.
I reached out to my friend Rocco, who works for Redfin Real Estate and told him that she has her license and if he could help her. He asked that she give him a call before he puts her in front of Human Resources.
I can ask around to see if she can get a bartending gig somewhere with my connections.
I pray that she’s come out on the other side of this having learned a valuable lesson.
Lunch is great and goes on until 2:30pm. We’ve really covered a lot of ground in our conversation. She even whipped out cash and paid her half of the bill. (Wow! Maybe she truly is reformed.)
“Why did you reach out to me, Kaja?”
“Because you’ve always been like a quiet port in the storm that was my life.”
“Why did you meet with for lunch today?”
“Two reasons. I’ve always been honest with you, dear. First, I always liked you. For the most part my time was always good with you. You were always sweet to me. Second, I do write a blog, and your life is certainly a doozy.” (I had told her previously about phicklephilly)
“Well just change my name.”
“I will not reveal your real identity in the blog, Kaja.”
“When can I see you again?”
I give her some days and times. She says maybe next Monday but we’ll figure it out through text as the day approaches.
Before we separate she hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. I do the same. Twelve years and here we are.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the law in PA about DUI.
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