By GARY POPP
NEW ALBANY —
A Salem husband and wife were arrested Sunday morning after Jeffersonville police responded to a vehicle in a Walgreens parking lot that contained a child and an unconscious man in the passenger seat.
Heidi Powers, 31, was preliminarily charged with misdemeanor neglect of a dependent and possession of controlled substance and possession of syringe, both class D felonies.
James Powers, 40, faces the same preliminarily charges, with the addition of D felony possession of paraphernalia.
A call to authorities had been made and two JPD officers responded to check the welfare of the child in the Ford Mustang at the 10th and Spring streets Walgreens about 12:15 a.m. At the scene, police reported finding James Powers in the vehicle “ ... slumped over with saliva coming out of his mouth” and a 5-year-old boy sleeping in a backseat.
As James Powers was awakened, a plastic bag containing 31 packets — seven of which were open — of Suboxone films were located between his legs. According to suboxone.com, the substance is a prescribed medication to help people overcome opioid dependence. Opioids include the street drug heroin and prescription medications like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.
The bag of Suboxone was found to be prescribed to James Powers from a Rite Aid pharmacy. After he was removed from the car, a large prescription pill bottle containing 11 Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, a prescribed anxiety drug, was found in his pocket. Police reported the prescription pill bottle containing the Alprazolam was prescribed to him, but for a different medication.
A syringe was also located in the passenger door as James Powers was assisted from the vehicle.
As police conducted an inventory search of the vehicle before it was towed away, five spoons with blue and white residue and three additional syringes in a Rite Aid prescription bag were located in the trunk.
Police found the driver of the vehicle, Heidi Powers, inside the Walgreens with another child. She told police she, James Powers and the two children had driven from Salem to Jeffersonville earlier in the evening to shop.
Heidi Powers said her husband had used drugs before making the trip and that he abuses prescription medications. She said she knew James Powers was “zoning,” according to the police report, and that she had decided to take only one of the two children in the store with her, despite knowing “ ... the drugs James had used were affecting his ability to care for the child, but she stated that she was only going to be inside the store for a few minutes.”
She also told police James Powers was awake, but not coherent before she entered the store.
Heidi Powers allowed police to search her purse, where a syringe, a spoon with residue and three small packets of Suboxone strips were located, according to the police report.
James Powers was taken to Clark Memorial Hospital due to being under the influence of narcotics, police reported. He was later released and booked into the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex.
Police reported the two children were without shoes and proper clothing to wait outside for the Department of Child Services officials who had been contacted, so they were taken to the Jeffersonville Police Department temporarily.