CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) -- High school seniors were having one last get-together before graduation landed a grandmother in jail for contributing to the delinquency of minors and violation of the host law.
Thursday night around 7:30, 68-year-old Martha Dubois said what began as a small fish fry with a few of her grandson's friends quickly grew into a large party with alcohol that she said she had no idea about until deputies knocked on her door.
"When they have their bonfires, they just build a fire there, and you can see where they had some wood and stuff they were going to burn," said Martha Dubois, showing THV 11 her backyard where more than 40 teenagers were cited for possessing alcohol.
"They all lost their license, even though they weren't driving. They all had to give up their license," said Dubois.
Police said they received calls from neighbors complaining about loud noise in Dubois' backyard. When they arrived, Lonoke County deputies said they found more than 40 teenagers drinking alcohol. Something Dubois, sitting inside her home, said she knew nothing about.
"I was responsible because I didn't go out there and check on them enough, but I did not condone it. I did not host the liquor party, and I'm just absolutely horrified over all of it," explained Dubois.
"Forty kids outside your house in the evening time as it's getting dark and that much alcohol? Somebody is not paying attention to their property," stated Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley.
He said deputies confiscated an entire truckload of alcohol and issued more than forty citations. They arrested two teenagers along with Martha Dubois.
"We don't want to arrest anybody truthfully, but if you are violating the law, that's our duty, and we have to do our job," explained Sheriff Staley.
"I'm the one that's going to have to be paying no telling what kind of fine," Dubois said.
She and her grandson both spent a night in jail for the party, and while she did not condone the drinking, she is accepting her punishment for not being more aware.
"The bottom line--it's my house, and ultimately I am responsible for it, and I understand that," she added.
As for her arrest, Dubois said it happened just as deputies were finishing up. A state trooper picked up a bottle of whiskey found in the yard, and offered it to several officers, each of them saying they did not drink that particular brand. Dubois said finally, one officer said he would take the whiskey. That is when Dubois said she told the officer to give it to her, and she would pour it out, that he would not take it home for his own consumption.
Dubois claimed the officer gave her the bottle, and as she began to pour it out, another officer told her she was tampering with evidence, and he arrested her.
Sheriff John Staley denied the allegation, saying the trooper meant to give the bottle of alcohol to the officers to take into evidence. Sheriff Staley said that is when Dubois took the bottle out of an officers hand and began yelling and using foul language. That is when officers decided to arrest and detain her.
Dubois said she spent the night in jail for the first time in her life, and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences she ever had. She said her grandson also went to jail for "smarting off" to authorities. She is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and violation of the host law.
She said she is speaking with an attorney and hopes to have the charges dropped.
As for the teenagers, Sheriff Staley said his department and the judge that will hear their cases is willing to work with the teen cited. He said if they bring documentation proving they are going to college, joining the military or doing something else productive with their futures, they will try to drop the citation. Sheriff Staley added that they are not trying to ruin the teens' lives, only teach them a lesson.