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Tennessee woman charged with neglect

By John Estridge, Editor

A 22-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., woman was charged with Neglect of dependents after police said they found her behind the wheel of a vehicle high on methamphetamine and with three small children in her vehicle.

Brittany N. Collins, 22, was charged with Neglect of a dependent, as a Level 6 Felony; Operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, as a class C misdemeanor; and Operating a vehicle while intoxicated, as a class C misdemeanor.

According to an Affidavit for Probable Cause written by Franklin County Sheriff's Department Deputy Arin Bowers, at 5:39 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27, said he was called to Lakeside Shell on Indiana 101 just north of Brookville on a report of a possible mental subject at that business.

Bowers found a male standing near the door to the business. The male's name was Nicholas. A female, later identified as Brittany, was sitting in the driver's seat of a grey Ford 5SE with Tennessee plates. Its engine was running.

There were three children in the back seat. The oldest is 4, the middle child is 2 and the baby is six months old.

Nicholas said they had driven up from Knoxville because Brittany's brother is dying. Nicholas did not know what day it was or where he was at.

Brittany said Nicholas was threatening to poison the children, and if she exited the vehicle, “all of them would die.”

Bowers said Nicholas' pupils were severely dilated. Bowers asked Nicholas when was the last time he had ingested drugs. He said they had not done any drugs. Bowers handcuffed Nicholas and sat him down next to the building.

He then went to talk to Brittany. Brittany tried to get out of the vehicle and fell down. She was crying, and her speech was unintelligible. Her pupils were severely dilated and did not respond to light. Bowers assisted Brittany to her feet, and he asked her if she was on medication. She told Bowers she had snorted meth the night before.

Bowers detained Brittany, putting her in handcuffs and placed her in the vehicle. Bowers removed the keys from the ignition. Brittany continued to talk about being poisoned and said the 4-year-old was throwing up blood.

Bowers went to where the 4-year-old was sitting and found red-tinted vomit on her lap. Bowers then called in the EMS, fearing the children had ingested meth.

Brookville Police Department Officer Dakota Richardson arrived and talked with Brittany. Bowers talked to Nicholas asking him again about recent drug use. This time Nicholas said he and Brittany had snorted meth at some point earlier in the morning. When Bowers asked Nicholas if the children could have had contact with the meth, Nicholas answered that he did not know.

EMS arrived and started to evaluate the children. While speaking to the children, the 4-year-old made a statement.

“I think mommy is sick,” the child said. “She fell out of the car at a stop sign.”

Richardson told Bowers Brittany made a statement to Richardson she had not taken any meth since the previous morning. She told Richardson Nicholas “had the devil in him.”

Bowers then contacted the Division of Children Services. A caseworker came to the scene.

FCSD deputies Andrew Voelker and John Roberts arrived on the scene. Bowers then put Brittany through field sobriety tests. The first test was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. According to American Optometric Association, a nystagmus is a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements. These movements often result in reduced vision and depth perception and can affect balance and coordination. These involuntary eye movements can occur from side to side, up and down, or in a circular pattern.

Bowers said he observed sustained nystagmus in both eyes. He then gave her a walk and turn test. She had several deviations to the walk and turn test.

Bowers informed her of her Miranda Rights and Indiana's implied consent law. Brittany said she would consent to a chemical test, and she also asked for an attorney.

Brittany asked to be transported by EMS for tension and back pain. She was taken to Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville. Again, Bowers read her the implied consent law, and again Brittany said she would submit to a blood draw, which then took place. It was sent to the Indiana State Police Department of Toxicology for analysis.

After the hospital staff said Brittany was fit for confinement, Bowers placed her under arrest and took her to the Franklin County Security Center to be booked in.

Nothing was stated about Nicholas.

If convicted of a Level 6 Felony, Brittany could receive a sentence of six months to two-and-a-half years in the FCSC.