EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – 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 in the passenger and driver seat of the vehicle.
An officer following the car on St. Clair Avenue in East Liverpool around 3 p.m. said it was driving erratically and weaving on the roadway.
According to a police report, the driver, later identified as 47-year-old James Acord, skidded to a stop as a school bus was dropping kids off on Prospect Street.
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The officer said the car drifted onto Prospect after the bus left, and came to a stop.
The police report claimed Acord’s head was bobbing, his speech was unintelligible and he had pinpoint pupils.
He told the officer he was taking his passenger, identified as 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, to the hospital.
The officer said he had to reach inside of the car to turn it off, when he 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.
The officer said Acord began to lose consciousness, and Pasek was already unconscious and turning blue.
The officer called an ambulance and EMS personnel 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.
“We’ll find people passed out in parking lots and sometimes in parks and out of the way places. 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, facing several charges.
WISH-TV speaks with the police chief
24-Hour News 8 asked Lane his goal in posting the picture of the overdosed adults with the boy in the background.
He gave several reasons, the first he says he wanted to get the attention of Child Protective Services. He wanted to showcase that the boy should be kept away from the two adults.
He also wanted to draw awareness that his community needs help in fighting the heroin epidemic.
“Without saying any words everyone can see we got a major issue,” said Lane as he described the picture.