EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio -- A police department in eastern Ohio is sharing graphic photos on Facebook showing a couple allegedly under the influence of heroin unconscious in a car with a 4-year-old boy in the backseat.
The East Liverpool Police Department shared the images, which were widely shared and drew outrage across social media, saying they hoped to raise awareness about the in their community.
“We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess,” the department wrote in an accompanying 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.”
According to a police report the department posted along with the images, officers noticed a car driving erratically Sept. 7 in East Liverpool, about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Officers say they saw the car making a hard stop in front of a school bus discharging children and then drifting to the side of the road.
An officer approached the driver, James Acord, who police said was bobbing his head and speaking unintelligbly. He told the officer he was taking the front seat female passenger, Rhonda Pasek, to a hospital.
He began to try to manipulate the gear shift, the officer said, and so the officer reached into the car to turn it off and remove the keys from the ignition. The officer saw Pasek’s young son, 4, sitting in the backseat.
The report says Acord eventually slipped into unconsciousness, and said Pasek was unconscious and turning blue. EMS responded and administered. Both regained consciousness and were transported to a hospital.
Police found a pink powedery substance in the car near Pasek they sent to be analyzed at a crime lab.
Both Pasek and Acord were charged with endangering a child and taken into custody. Pasek was also charged with public intoxication and Acord was charged with a traffic violation. The boy was taken into custody by child welfare services.
The department said on Facebook they realized the pictures may be disturbing to some.
“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis,” the department wrote. “The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.”