HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A father held in jail without bond was already drunk at 10 a.m. when he took his newborn daughter with him to buy alcohol on Wednesday, according to Henrico Police. Vinod Ambalal Patel, 53, was charged with child abuse/neglect and being drunk in public, according to police records.
"He bought booze with the $10 he had, instead of milk," a woman who encountered Patel said. "He couldn't give the baby what the baby needed. He's out here buying alcohol instead of formula."
Patel's blood alcohol level was .22 at the time of his arrest, nearly three times the legal driving limit.
The nine-day-old girl, who was dressed in a onesie, a beanie and a blanket on the 26-degree day, was not crying as Patel took her on the half-mile icy walk from his Williamsburg Road motel room on to the store, according to one witness.
"The baby was dressed warm. He had her wrapped up, she was clean," the woman said.
Witnesses called Child Protective Services out of concern for the child's safety.
"What if he passes out? What if the baby falls? He was intoxicated. This is a newborn," the woman said.
Patell was arrested after he called Henrico Police.
"We got a second phone call to Communications, where a gentleman called asking for a ride to social services, so we responded," Henrico Police spokesman Lt. Chris Eley said. "We realized Mr. Patel was extremely intoxicated. The child was not dressed appropriately for the weather."
The newborn's mother was already in jail. She was arrested the night before following a domestic incident.
"I think they could be good parents. I think they're in the wrong situation," the woman said.