Polk County sheriff’s deputies arrested a pregnant Winter Haven mother accused of passing out from cocaine while inside a hot car with two small children.
First responders rushed Marsha Forrester to an area hospital where doctors performed an emergency C-section to remove and treat the baby, the sheriff’s office said.
“I’m both furious and heartbroken about this. Two small children and a baby who was due to be born soon were put into serious danger all because this woman wanted to get high,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news release. “She chose cocaine over the safety of these little ones.”
Forrester admitted to a detective at the hospital she used cocaine several times during the two days before passing out, the sheriff’s office said.
According to deputies, Forrester said she picked up her two children on Monday in Lakeland.
Deputies said she then stopped at a Circle K store at 1108 Spirit Lake Road in Winter Haven. Deputies said she left the two children in the car while she went into the store to use the cocaine, then got back into the car and drove across the parking lot to the Publix store and passed out.
A passerby directed Polk County Fire Rescue crews to the car, which was running with the air conditioning off. Forrester was slumped over the wheel and the two children were inside, crying and sweating. The sheriff’s office said the temperature at that time was 90 degrees, with a heat index of 99 degrees.
Polk County Fire Rescue pulled Forrester from the car and recognized symptoms of narcotic overdose, so he administered two doses of Narcan.
The two children – who are both younger than 5 years old – were not injured.
Forrester is charged with two counts of negligent child abuse without great bodily harm. Her newborn child remains hospitalized and in critical condition.