Woman charged after police say baby found unattended in car

10:56 am | May 8, 2013

Police arrested a Johnson City woman at the Elizabethton Wal-Mart Monday evening and charged her with attempted child neglect after officers said they found her baby left unattended in a running vehicle in the parking lot.

Tonya Coleman

Tonya Coleman

According to a report filed by Elizabethton Patrol Officer Matthew Taylor, responding officers located the child in the car with the doors unlocked and no apparent guardian in sight.

After a few minutes, Taylor said Tonya Coleman, 40, 102 Honeycutt Private Drive, Johnson City, approached the vehicle and was stopped by the officers.

In his report, the officer noted that Coleman’s pupils were constricted, her speech was slurred and she appeared to be unsteady on her feet.

When questioned about the child, Coleman reportedly told Taylor she didn’t want to take the baby out in the cold as she shopped for flowers and that she checked on him a number of times while in the store.

Taylor said video surveillance of the parking lot showed that she did not return to the car during the 10 minutes she was inside the building.

The officer said Coleman performed poorly on a series of field sobriety tests, then told him she was taking Soma, Lortab, Xanax and Percocet, all prescribed by a doctor, and that esophagus problems forced her to crush the medications and snort them using a straw.

When searched, Taylor said officers found three different prescriptions, a pill crusher and a straw in her purse.

Coleman was charged with DUI, possession of a Schedule II controlled narcotic, possession of a Schedule IV controlled narcotic, possession of drug paraphernalia and attempted child neglect.

She was booked in to the Carter County Jail and later posted bond.

She is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court June 18.

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