A mother was arrested Tuesday morning in Manchester, New Hampshire, after police say she overdosed behind the wheel of her minivan with her 4-year-old child in the backseat.
When officers responded to a 911 call, they found the woman and her son passed out in a car on Wilson Street. It was about 85 degrees outside, the windows were rolled up and police say the two had been in the car for more than an hour.
“It makes me so, so sad,” said neighbor Hava Causevic who watched as officers pulled the young boy from the hot car. “The child was very, very weak.”
At the same time, emergency responders used Narcan to save the boy’s mother, who they say overdosed on heroin.
“When they pulled her out of the car, she had a syringe on her lap, as well as two bags of drugs — heroin and cocaine,” explained Manchester Police Lt. Brian O’Keefe.
Now, 34-year-old Sara Donlon is charged with OUI and endangering the welfare of a child.
NBC10 Boston spoke with a family member who says Donlon is a mother of three boys. She is originally from Dracut, Massachusetts, but has been living in Maine for three years. They knew she’d been taking pain pills, but had no idea it had progressed to this.
For people who live in the Manchester neighborhood where Donlon was arrested, it’s a story they hear all too often.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Solomon Sanchez.
Sanchez says he’s a parent battling addiction himself.
“I understand what that feeling is like,” Sanchez said. “It’s a desperate, hopeless, awful feeling.”
Patrick Kiley is also a dad and knows what it’s like to be addicted to drugs.
“When you’re that far into it, nothing can keep you clean, not even your children,” Kiley said.
Both men are thankful to hear that Donlon and her little boy are OK. They’re hopeful this will be the wakeup call she needs.
“I think she made a big mistake,” Sanchez said. “I think if you took drugs out of the equation, I bet she’s a wonderful mom.”
Police say the little boy is with his father. Donlon posted bail and will be back in court in June.