Officials: Woman asleep at wheel, 2 children in car


Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 12:36 a.m.

A woman was charged with child abuse and other crimes after Union County deputies allegedly found her passed out at the wheel of her car with an infant in the seat next to her and a toddler in the back seat.

Both children were taken to an area hospital as a precaution when a deputy noticed the baby's face was red and cold to the touch.

Carolyn Rebecca Hamm, 23, was arrested late Thursday on charges of child abuse, DUI and possession or use of drug paraphernalia.

According to an arrest report by Union County Deputy Mindy B. Goodwin, Hamm's car had been parked alongside Southwest Second Street in Lake Butler for at least an hour when Goodwin walked up to the driver's side window and saw Hamm slumped over the wheel while the car was running and in gear.

Goodwin said she turned off the car's ignition and then turned her attention to the 5-month-old baby girl in the front seat and the 2-year-old in the back seat.

Goodwin reported that both children were buckled into their car seats but that the seats had not been attached to the car with seat belts as required.

Also, state law prohibits small children from riding in the front seats of cars.

Goodwin also noted in her report that the baby girl was awake and wrote: "Her face was bright red, and her body was very cold to touch." The little boy was asleep but "was also very cold to touch," Goodwin wrote in her report.

Deputies tried to wake Hamm several times by calling her name loudly and shaking her but received no response. Goodwin said she finally got a response from Hamm when she pulled the woman's head back and Hamm opened her eyes.

Emergency medical workers put the children into an ambulance to try to warm them up and took the children to an area hospital as a precaution.

The children's father was summoned to the scene, but Goodwin said he smelled strongly of marijuana and had trouble walking and talking. The man told deputies he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day, the Sheriff's Office reported.

The Department of Children and Families was notified, and a case worker went to the hospital to make arrangements for the children's care, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Hamm failed multiple sobriety tests and refused to provide a urine sample for drug testing, the Sheriff's Office reported.

While Hamm was being questioned, deputies said they found a glass crack pipe under the driver's seat of her car.

Hamm told deputies she had been at a friend's house in Providence and had stopped the car to try to roll up the driver's side window and did not remember anything else, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Hamm also claimed she was taking prescription drugs, including one that had not been prescribed for her, and she suggested those drugs had made her sleepy.

Hamm was being held at the Bradford County Jail on Friday because the Union County Jail does not have facilities to house women.

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