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Overdose alleged as child sat in back seat of vehicle

EAST LIVERPOOL — A Hancock County couple had to be revived after apparently overdosing while a 4-year-old boy was sitting in the back seat of their SUV Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The man and woman, both of New Cumberland, were later arrested on multiple charges, and the boy was placed in the custody of a family friend in New Cumberland, East Liverpool Officer Kevin Thompson said.

James L. Acord, 47, of Union Lane, pleaded no contest on Thursday to charges of driving under the influence and endangering children, according to East Liverpool Municipal Court records. A charge of impeding traffic was dismissed.

Acord was sentenced to 180 days in jail on each charge, to be served concurrently, and was fined $475 and assessed court costs.

Rhonda L. Pasek, 50, of Mayhew Road, faces charges of endangering children and disorderly conduct, as well as a seat belt (passenger) violation, court records said. She pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

The couple was driving southbound on St. Clair Avenue at 3:11 p.m. Wednesday when they came close to hitting a stopped school bus, Thompson said. As the bus pulled away, they drifted toward the area of Morton and Prospect streets.

Thompson, who was right behind the couple, pulled them over and made contact with Acord.

“He was impaired. He was trying to drive away. I had to take the keys out of the ignition,” he said.

Pasek was unconscious, and Acord went unconscious while Thompson was talking to him, he said. “That’s when I noticed that there was a 4-year-old child restrained in the back seat,” he said.

Thompson attempted to give first aid to Pasek, who was in respiratory distress. Lifeteam EMS was called and administered naloxone, an opiate antidote, to both adults, he said.

Acord and Pasek were treated at East Liverpool City Hospital and released, whereupon they were arrested. Both of them remain in custody.

Thompson said a substance found on the front passenger seat of their Ford Explorer has been sent to the state crime lab in Columbus.

Columbiana County Children Services coordinated care and placement of the child, who belongs to Pasek, with Hancock County authorities.

(Huba can be contacted at shuba@reviewonline.com)

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