LAKEPORT – George James Watchman has proven once again that he shouldn’t be trusted with children.
On Tuesday, as the 49-year-old man was driving through Lakeport at 10 in the morning, a Lakeport Police officer spotted him at North Forbes Street and Clearlake Avenue. The officer was familiar with Watchman, and believed that his drivers license had been suspended. According to a Lakeport Police press release, the officer initiated a traffic stop to check on his status, but the Ford mini van sped up, and made a few quick turns on and off side streets, apparently in an attempt to escape the patrol car.
His attempt to escape went as well as most do, except he ended up pulling over finally at the 900 block of North Main Street, just around the corner from the police station.
As the officer addressed Watchman to ask for his license and registration, he immediately saw a 3-year-old boy in the front seat, not only without a child car seat, but without even a seat belt on. This, of course is considered willful child endangerment, especially when engaging in a chase with law enforcement. While he could try to claim he meant no harm in this case, in 2011 he was arrested, and eventually convicted of willful cruelty to a child, also in Lakeport. He was sentenced to probation for that violation, but apparently convinced someone that their child was now safe with him.
He was arrested with charges of willful endangerment of a child and driving with a suspended license. The Lake County District Attorney is reviewing the case to determine if probation violation charges are also warranted.