SLMPD doing internal review after child stays with parents suspe -

SLMPD doing internal review after child stays with parents suspected of overdosing

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Parents overdosing. Credit: East Liverpool PD Parents overdosing. Credit: East Liverpool PD
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

St. Louis police confirm to News 4 they're investigating themselves after an alarming accident earlier this month.

Two parents were found in a car passed out from suspected overdoses. A 2-year-old child was in the backseat.

But the child stayed with her parents.

“Looked like they were falling asleep,” said James Anthony, a man who witnessed the accident.

Anthony says it happened just outside his home on Goodfellow and Lalite earlier this month.

Police say a woman driving a Ford Explorer hit a Nissan Altima. Then, according to officials, the woman took a wide turn onto a side street and hit another vehicle.

“They parked right there and passed out,” she said.

James was shocked to learn a 2-year old child was with them.

“That’s dangerous, especially if you are on drugs, imagine if they didn't veer into that car, they could have veered into that brick wall over there, the child could have been killed, plus them,” said Anthony.

An off-duty firefighter nearby called for aid.

“The two adult occupants are unconscious and unresponsive,” said Capt. Garon Mosby with the St. Louis Fire Department.

Capt. Mosby says the parents were revived with appropriate treatment for what police called suspected overdoses.

"Had they been a few minutes late, it's a good possibility those two adults would have died in that car," said Capt. Mosby,

But what happened to the child?

“Were law enforcement officers called to the scene?” asked Investigative Reporter, Lauren Trager. “Yes,” Mosby said.  

Officers, though, didn't take the child with them.

Instead, the child stayed with her parents.

So a medic even took it a step further, trying to call the state agency responsible for children.

“This medic, she went above and beyond, after transporting the parents, we attempted to hotline the situation, and was unable to get through, but made an effort on her day off, the next day, to hotline them as well,” said Capt. Mosby.

We tried placing a call for a situation like an opioid crisis and received this response:

“The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect hotline is currently experiencing a high volume of calls and is unable to take your call at this time.”

News 4 called back and finally got through after a 12-minute wait.

After questioning the state, a spokesperson told said the opioid crisis, in part, has led to a higher volume of calls.

So exactly who is responsible for children in the immediate aftermath of overdose situations?

News 4 wanted to talk with police, but they declined our request for an interview, saying in these situations "officers contact the department's juvenile division who will determine the proper course of action to be taken."

They wouldn't tell us if that happened for the accident on Goodfellow. The department told News 4 the proper state agency was notified on the day of the accident.

After we inquired about it, they also confirmed the whole thing under an internal review to see if any policy violations occurred.

News 4 went to the child's home and found her and her mom.

She denies doing any drugs and said she and her husband were just very tired.

Child advocates say they have some concerns that law enforcement let the child return to the parents’ custody.

“The biggest concern I would have is because if a child has been exposed to that one time there's a good chance it’s going to happen again,” said Matt Kliethermes with the Child Advocacy Center at UMSL.

Ideally, he says whether its law enforcement or a Good Samaritan, it's key to act fast.

“Usually the quicker you can connect them with a trusted loved one the better off they are," Kliethermes said. 

The state's children's division says they are committed to doing everything possible to ensure reports are received in a timely manner.

If you believe a child is in an emergency or life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.

News 4 has reached out to lawmakers on this issue and we will keep asking questions about who is taking care of children when their parents are overdosing.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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