Nanny, teen arrested in connection with underage drinking party in Darien

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A nanny has been arrested in connection with an underage drinking party in Darien, and her attorney is criticizing how the police handled the situation.

Police say on Feb. 15, they got a 911 call that a girl fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a head injury at a house party.

They arrived at the home on Half Mile Road and heard someone yell "the police are here" as people started running.

Investigators say 18-year-old Nicholas Branca was helping the girl who fell. He said he did not see her fall, but police arrested him for reckless endangerment after he moved the girl.

Police say they questioned the nanny at the home, 53-year-old Deborah Hope, and arrested her for providing alcohol to minors.

Her attorney says some uninvited guests showed up with the alcohol and that Hope and Branca were only trying to help. He says police overreacted.

"There were reports of police threatening to Tase young people at that point, and I would characterize this as an overreaction to the circumstances that they happened upon, and we're going to look further into that and do our own investigation," said defense attorney Stephan Seeger.

Seeger says Hope has worked for the same family for more than 15 years.

"She has not been involved in the law whatsoever in any negative fashion," Seeger said. "By all accounts she has great references with people in the community and she's just a hardworking lady who cared to help."

Police say they found a note written by Hope alleging she knew minors would be drinking there, contrary to what her lawyer says.

Hope posted a $5,000 bond. Branca is due in court Thursday.

Police declined to comment and said they are investigating.

Police have not given an update on the condition of the girl who fell at the party.

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