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Father Charged After Police Discover Underage Drinking Party At Darien Home

John Wellenius
John Wellenius Photo Credit: Darien Police Department

An underage drinking party led to the arrest of a Fairfield County man who was allegedly intoxicated while teenagers were consuming alcohol at his home, police said.

Officers from the Darien Police Department were dispatched to a Hollow Tree Road residence shortly before midnight on Saturday, Nov. 16, where there was a report of minors drinking alcohol.

Police said that the responding officers were met in the driveway by a 15-year-old resident of the home, who said she had a group of friends over, and two people had been drinking, though they had since left the house. When asked to speak with her parents, the minor said that they had gone to bed for the night.

The minor walked the officers to her parents’ bedroom and unsuccessfully attempted to wake them by knocking on the door, police said.

“In an attempt to ensure the safety of the remaining minors in the home,” police said that the officers began knocking on the locked door in an attempt to stir the adults.

According to police, after approximately five minutes, a man later identified as John Wellenius, 48, responded to the door, but initially refused to open it.

After several more minutes, Wellenius opened the door, allegedly in an intoxicated state.

Wellenius’ wife was also in the room at the time, police said. While speaking with officers, Wellenius was unaware of the day or time, and said he was aware his daughter had friends to the house, but was not aware of them consuming alcohol, according to police.

Investigators said that “based on the confirmation of under-aged consumption of alcohol within the residence during the evening and the length of time that it took to make contact with the parents, probable cause existed that the inability to rouse the parents caused a risk to the minor children.

“Wellenius would have been unable to provide reasonable assistance in a timely fashion for several other minor children in the home under the age of 10," police added.

Wellenius was arrested and charged with four counts of risk of injury to a minor. Five non-family members were released into the custody of their parents, and the teenager - who showed no signs of intoxication - was found to be able to care for her younger siblings if it was required.

Following his processing, Wellenius was released on a $500 bond and is scheduled to appear back in court on Wednesday, Nov. 27 to respond to the charges.

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