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DUI arrest may jeopardize father's quest for custody of Summer Moll

TAMPA — The custody discussions of Summer Moll seemed to be going well between the 5-year-old girl's grandmother and father, until he was arrested for driving under the influence this week.

Summer lost her mother, Jennifer O'Boyle, in September when, police say, a drunken driver smashed into her car while driving the wrong way on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway. The girl suffered a fractured skull and several broken bones in the wreck.

Since then, her father, Joshua Adam Moll, has been seeking custody of the injured child. But his arrest for DUI early Tuesday morning, hours before Summer had a followup operation, could jeopardize that effort.

The child has been living with her grandmother, Tammy Rosian, since getting out of the hospital. Rosian and Summer's father agreed to temporary shared custody in December, shortly after he moved to Tampa from Texas.

Summer's grandmother declined to discuss the implications of the DUI charge, but her attorney, Jennifer Reh, said it raises serious concerns.

"There are practical factors of who can provide today for this child," said Rosian's attorney, Jennifer Reh. "I don't think anybody disputes which party that is."

Reh said both parties likely would've agreed to make the custody arrangement permanent, but because of Moll's arrest, any discussion of that with the family law judge in charge of the case has been postponed.

"Josh has to learn how to be a parent if that's what he's going to do," Reh said. "We're still hopeful that all the parties will stay in Summer's life.

"Does it change the complexion of the case? Certainly."

Moll's attorney, Theodore Rechel, conceded that the arrest could be a factor in deciding the child's custody, but he did not think it would automatically result in Moll being declared unfit to care for his daughter. "I think he recognized he put himself in a position that was not good, and I think he's still sorting out what this all means."

Moll, 26, was picked up by Tampa police at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday after being asked to leave the Rack in Hyde Park and then was seen driving erratically through the parking lot, officials said.

Summer is in intensive care at Tampa General Hospital.

Doctors were supposed to clean out her head wound Tuesday, but they were stalled when they found an infection. She's scheduled for another operation Friday, this time to rotate her scalp and perform a skin graft to protect the wound, her grandmother said.

"She's doing really good," Rosian said Wednesday.

Rosian said Moll stopped by the hospital to visit Summer on Wednesday afternoon for the first time after being released from jail the previous morning.

DUI arrest may jeopardize father's quest for custody of Summer Moll 02/18/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 20, 2009 11:32am]

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