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Woman jailed after found with syringe, child in car

Nov. 11, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- An Ohio toddler watched as her mother -- seated behind the wheel of a running vehicle -- floated in and out of consciousness with a syringe in her arm at a gasoline station in West Huntington, according to documents filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court.

The woman -- Courtney Leigh Hardy, 21, of Chesapeake, Ohio -- was arrested and jailed Wednesday on charges of felony child neglect and misdemeanor driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle.

Huntington Police Capt. Alan Rohrig said a police officer who was at the gasoline station on an unrelated call spotted a woman in her vehicle and noticed something didn't look right. It happened about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 1000 block of Washington Avenue.

The criminal complaint states Hardy was observed in the driver's seat with her vehicle parked and running at the time. It further states Hardy was going in and out of consciousness with her arm tied off and a syringe already puncturing the skin.

Hardy's 2-year-old daughter looked on as the needle injected her mother with an unknown substance, the complaint states. Rohrig said the toddler had been sitting in the car's front, passenger seat. She later was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services.

"That's just dangerous in a multitude of ways," Rohrig said of the incident.

The captain explained those dangers not only included neglect to the child, but it also placed area motorists at risk of a serious car accident.

Rohrig said state law allows police to charge such a person with driving under the influence anytime the vehicle is deemed operable. In this case the vehicle wasn't moving, but he said its running engine with somebody behind the steering wheel helped meet the necessary standard.

Investigators hope drug testing will help sustain the drunken driving charge, Rohrig said. The type of drug had not been determined as of midday Thursday.

Rohrig explained no drug possession charge was filed because any drugs the woman may have possessed already had been injected. He said the intoxication charge also will be bolstered by the collection of a drug-related straw and spoon as evidence.

A check of court records in Cabell, Wayne and Lawrence County, Ohio, found Wednesday's arrest marked Hardy's first felony in any of the three counties. It also stood as her only drug-related charge.

Hardy remained at the Western Regional Jail as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Her bond was set at $30,000, according to booking records.