An Ellenton couple face child neglect charges after they were found passed out from a drug overdose with two children in the backseat, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Security footage at the Texaco gas station, located at 19 East Road in Sarasota, shows a black Chevrolet SUV parking at the No. 8 gas pump at 6:15 a.m. on Jan. 19.
No one got out of the vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit. Two hours later, deputies and fire department members responded to an overdose call.
In the front seats of the SUV were 36-year-old William Ballard and 32-year-old Delaney Crissinger, both unconscious. A 5-month-old and an 18-month-old were in car seats.
A deputy was able to open the driver-side door and turn off the engine. Once the passenger-side door was opened, both Ballard and Crissinger regained consciousness.
According to the affidavit, Crissinger was trying to hide a small plastic bag containing a crystalline substance, which she then gave to a lieutenant at the scene. At Crissinger’s feet was a syringe with brown liquid sitting next to a container of baby formula.
Deputies searched the rest of the SUV and found a camera bag with a “drug kit” — a spoon, scale, empty plastic bags and 12 bags of what appeared to be heroin —according to the affidavit. In total, deputies found 2.59 grams of meth and 0.38 grams of the brown powder that tested positive for fentanyl and heroin.
After being read his Miranda rights, Ballard told detectives he had recently lost his job and was selling heroin as a way to make money for his family, according to the affidavit. He said he had used meth before they arrived at the gas station.
Crissinger told detectives she knew Ballard sold drugs and that she was holding a bag of crystal meth with a pipe in her pocket, but she had no recollection of preparing the syringe found at her feet, according to the affidavit. The two were waiting to go to a methadone clinic, she said, but she said she didn’t know why they were at the gas station.
The sheriff’s office could not confirm if Ballard and Crissinger were the children’s parents, citing public record laws pertaining to victims.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigation Division has an open child protection investigation regarding the incident, according to Natalie Harrell, Florida Department of Children and Families communications director for the SunCoast region.
Harrell also said the children were protected by the courts and placed in the care of relatives.
Ballard faces charges of driving with license revoked, child neglect and possession of meth and heroin with intent to sell. Crissinger faces charges of child neglect and possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.