JammedUp News

News

Woman who overdosed with grandson in the back seat sentenced to 180 days

September 16, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Woman who overdosed with grandson in the back seat sentenced to 180 days

Are you in a legal jam? Find a Lawyer, Bail Bondsman or Private Investigator on JammedUp.

Overdosed woman in police photo with grandson in backseat of vehicle sentenced to 180 days in Jail

The grandmother, whose face went viral after she overdosed on heroin in a car with her boyfriend and grandson in the back seat, was sentenced to 180 days behind bars on Thursday.

Fifty-year-old Rhonda Pasek and her 47-year-old boyfriend, James Acord, quickly became the faces of the country’s heroin crises when East Liverpool, Ohio officials published pictures of the overdosed slumped over and lifeless with the four-year-old in the back.

Pasek pleaded no contest on Thursday to charges of public intoxication, child endangerment, and failure to wear a seatbelt, according to WKBN-TV. A municipal judge in the town sentenced her to 180 days in jail plus a $280 fine.

Accord also pleaded no contest to charges of child endangerment and was issued a 360-day sentence. Child welfare officials removed the boy from Pasek’s custody and sent him to stay with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina.

“I don’t condone what she did, but she is not a bad person,” Pasek’s sister, who refused to be identified, told NBC News in an interview. “She loves that boy.”

Barbara McCullough, 84, the child’s great-grandmother, and her husband cared for the boy since just after he was born until Pasek was granted full custody of him in July.

Rhonda Pasek, 50, pleaded no contest on Thursday to charges of child endangering, public intoxication and a seat belt violation. (WKBN27)

Rhonda Pasek, 50, pleaded no contest on Thursday to charges of child endangering, public intoxication and a seat belt violation. (WKBN27)

According to WKBN, the elderly woman denied the assumption that the boy “has lived like this on a daily basis” and said that she has sympathy for Pasek even though she should never have another chance to raise him.

“He says, ‘My grandma got in trouble.’ I said, ‘Well honey your granny’s maybe a little bit sick,” the woman said.

McCullough added: “I cannot imagine her ever doing something like that with that child in the car because I truly believe she did love him. And he loved her dearly.”

Law enforcement officials published a police report of the September 7th incident along with the shocking pictures of the two overdosed adults. A police officer stated that Pasek was starting to turn blue by the time Acord’s vehicle stopped behind a school bus.

The couple woke up after an emergency crew administered an overdose medication, according to police. Pasek and Acord were then handcuffed and taken into custody, and Columbiana County Children’s Services were called on behalf of the little boy.

“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,” officials said in a Facebook post.

“This child can’t speak for himself, but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody,” the post continued.

The town of East Liverpool and many others across the United States are grappling with the myriad of heroin-related overdoses and deaths. Annual fatal heroin overdoses have increased sixfold to 10,574 from only 1,779 between 2001 and 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported.

Get the latest news from the world of crime