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Summer Moll affected by new DUI case: her dad's

BRANDON — Last fall, 5-year-old Summer Moll suffered a fractured skull and lost her mother in a crash that police blamed on a drunken driver.

On Tuesday morning, hours before Summer returned to the hospital for followup surgery, her father was arrested by Tampa police.

The charge: driving under the influence.

Joshua Adam Moll, 26, was picked up at 1:40 a.m. after leaving a Tampa bar.

"It's just sad that it came to this," said Tammy Rosian, Summer's grandmother. "He knew she was going in for surgery at 5:15 this morning."

Rosian has been taking care of the girl since September, when a woman accused of driving the wrong way on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway slammed into Summer and her mother, Jennifer O'Boyle.

Investigators said Cheryl Riemann's blood-alcohol level was 0.244 percent. She faces multiple felony charges, including DUI manslaughter and DUI resulting in serious injury.

Police didn't get a blood-alcohol level from Joshua Moll on Tuesday, but he failed a field sobriety test and slurred his speech, officials said.

"If he did engage in this behavior, then it's ironic and unfortunate that he would have that lapse of judgment," said his attorney, Theodore Rechel.

Summer's surgery Tuesday was supposed to be routine, but doctors encountered complications, finding an infection beneath the metal plate in her head.

She was awake and responsive Tuesday night in the intensive care unit at Tampa General Hospital. Initial results from a CAT scan after the surgery didn't show a puncture to Summer's brain, as feared, Rosian said.

"She's talking," Rosian said. "She's coming along."

Meanwhile, Rosian said she hadn't heard from Summer's father. Joshua Moll was released from jail at 10:51 a.m., about 20 minutes after the surgery ended.

Moll was involved in a disturbance at the Rack in Hyde Park. After security asked him to leave, he was seen driving aggressively through the parking lot, according to the police report.

He returned to the parking lot and was stopped by officers after driving erratically in a 2004 Dodge Ram with Texas plates. Moll made numerous threats during the arrest, according to the report.

Moll moved to Tampa from Texas to seek custody of Summer after the crash, but he and Rosian agreed to share custody. Under the agreement, Summer was to remain living with her grandmother in Brandon but would spend an increasing amount of time with her father and possibly live with him in the future.

"When he wants to come over, the door is always open to him," Rosian said.

Summer and Rosian met with Moll for lunch Monday for about an hour, but Rosian said she also hoped Moll would stop by to see his daughter the night before her surgery. That didn't happen.

"His DUI is the last thing on my mind," Rosian said, while waiting for Summer's CAT scan results. "He should have been thinking about his daughter last night instead of drinking."

A previously scheduled case management conference will be at 3 p.m. today, but attorneys said they don't expect Moll's arrest to change anything with the immediate custody of Summer.

Even if the details in the police report are true, Rechel said, that doesn't mean Moll is unfit to care for Summer.

"There are a lot of people who have DUIs who parent their children," he said.

Rosian sees it differently.

"I have a feeling this is going to change things," she said.

Kevin Smetana can be reached at ksmetana@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2439.

Summer Moll affected by new DUI case: her dad's 02/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 11:17pm]
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