FAIRFIELD, Ohio – One mother faces possible jail time, while another mourns not being able to celebrate her son’s birthday on Sunday.
"His birthday is February 16, he would have been 21... and I just miss him so much," said Diana Jones as she sat in Fairfield Municipal Court Wednesday.
Doreen Schafer, 52, was in that court for an arraignment hearing involving a single charge of furnishing alcohol to underage persons at her house on New Year's Eve.
Diana Jones' son, 20-year-old Aaron Jones, died after police said he drove drunk from that party.
Hamilton, Ohio police say Schafer gave alcohol to Aaron Jones, her own daughter, and other underage persons.
Aaron Jones crashed his vehicle near the entrance to Millikin Woods Park on South Washington Boulevard in Hamilton. Investigators said he missed a curve and drove into a stone sign after hitting speeds of more than 70 miles per hour.
Jones was flown to a Cincinnati-area hospital where he later died.
"I just think that it's outrageous that she would do that...she would serve alcohol to minors," Diana Jones said after Wednesday’s hearing.
Aaron Jones' blood alcohol level was more than .20 at the time of the crash, said Hamilton Police Sgt. Ed Buns. It was Buns’ investigation that led back to Schafer’s house, where police said 30 to 50 teens attended the party.
"I did not serve one drop of alcohol...to those kids," Schafer said in court. "I feel terrible for the parents involved. I did not supply one drop of alcohol."
Schafer appeared in the courtroom without an attorney, saying she worked two jobs and could not afford one. She did not qualify for court-appointed counsel.
Hamilton police said they found attendees of the New Year’s Eve party were between 19 and 20 years old.
Buns said officers handed their evidence over to the Ohio Investigation Unit. That unit then cited Schafer.
"This was a fatality that didn't need to happen,” said Harold Torrens, the Ohio Investigative Unit's Cincinnati district agent. “We just want to curtail underage drinking -- and if we can do it with investigations like (this), that's what we're doing."
Schafer is currently out of jail on an O.R. bond. A judge ordered her to return to court on Feb. 26 with an attorney.