Gaston DSS worker accused of 2 crimes in 1 week

October 10, 2011 6:23 PM

A Gaston County social worker has been arrested two times in one week.

Her first arrest involved a party at her house and the second alleges that she drove drunk with a child in her car.

Yvette Jadine Smithen, 42, was stopped by Shelby Police in the 2100 block of East Dixon Boulevard on Saturday. The officer determined Smithen had been drinking and charged her with DWI.

A 4-year-old boy was in the car when police took her into custody.

Smithen was released on an unsecured bond.

Saturday marked the second time in one week that the Child Protective Services caseworker found herself locked up.

On Oct. 2, Smithen was charged with resisting arrest in a Gaston County incident. According to the arrest report, Smithen interfered with police when they came to the scene of a party that afternoon. The party was at her home on Bent Branch Street.

Her boss, Keith Moon, said Smithen told him the incident happened during a party that she was throwing at her house.

Director of Gaston County DSS, Moon said the Gastonia woman has only been with the department for a month. She makes $41,211.

Employees are required to report arrests to their supervisors.

Smithen did so last week, and she sent Moon an email requesting a meeting Monday.

People are not guilty of a crime just because they are charged, so firing an employee over pending cases isn’t protocol, said Moon.

Smithen was not penalized at work for her resisting arrest charge. But if she did indeed drive while impaired with a child in the car, there may be consequences at work, said Moon.

“This is obviously a much more serious situation you’re talking about,” said Moon.

Moon said he would have to do some more investigating before he knew what action Smithen might face.

Case workers need to be credible, said Moon. They often find themselves sitting in the witness stand during trials. If Smithen can no longer serve as a credible witness, then she can no longer fulfill the duties of her job at DSS.

Smithen has one other prior arrest in Gaston County. She was charged with assault and battery in 2008. That charge was later dismissed.

Alicia Banks contributed to this report.

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