EAST LIVERPOOL, OH (WCMH) — A 4-year-old boy was placed in the custody of Children’s Services Wednesday after police said they found him in the backseat of a car with two adults that had passed out from a possible drug overdose.
James Acord, 47, and Rhonda Pasek, 50, both face multiple charges, including child endangerment charges. Police say they shared photos of the couple from the scene to “show the other side of this horrible drug.”
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess.” – East Liverpool Police
According to the police report, an officer started following the couple’s car on St. Clair Avenue in East Liverpool, Ohio around 3 p.m. after spotting it driving erratically and weaving on the roadway. The officer says the vehicle nearly hit school bus that was dropping kids off on Prospect Street before skidding to a stop.
The officer noticed Acord’s head was bobbing, his speech was unintelligible and he had pinpoint pupils. He managed to tell the officer he was taking Hasek to the hospital.
When the officer reached inside the vehicle to turn off the engine, he then noticed the boy in the backseat.
“I imagine that little kid that’s in that car, he’s probably seen that at home probably dozens of times where they’re passed out with needles in their arms,” said Police Chief John Lane told WKBN-TV.
The officer said Acord began to lose consciousness. Pasek was already unconscious and turning blue, the police report states.
EMS personnel were called to the scene and revived both adults with several rounds of Narcan, an opioid-reversal drug, before taking them to the hospital.
Lane says the department doesn’t often see people driving in this condition.
“The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours” – East Liverpool Police
“We’ll find people passed out in parking lots and sometimes in parks and out of the way places,” said Lane. “They’ll shoot up and pass out.”
According to the police report, a pink powdery substance was found inside a folded piece of paper on the front passenger seat. It was sent to a lab for testing, but Lane says the results may not be available for a few weeks.
Both Acord and Pasek are from New Cumberland, West Virginia. They were taken to Columbiana County Jail Wednesday night and appeared in court Thursday. Acord’s charges include operating a vehicle under the influence and endangering children. Pasek was charged with endangering children, public intoxication and not wearing a seat belt.