HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - According to an arrest affidavit, a deputy with the Houston County Sheriff's Office arrested a Crockett woman on Friday after he spotted a woman driving around with a small child with her upper body hanging out of an open window on the car.
Later, when the deputy searched the vehicle, he allegedly found a marijuana cigarette inside a Sonic cup and a plastic bag containing methamphetamine in her purse.
Amber Benton is still being held in the Houston County Jail on three state-jail felony charges - two counts of endangering a child and one possession of a controlled substance. No bail amount information was available.
According to the arrest affidavit, a HCSO deputy was on patrol on Loop 304 in Crockett when he noticed a silver sedan driving north with a small child standing in the rear seat "with the upper portion of her body hanging out of the window with her arms out by her side."
Fearing for the little girl's safety, the deputy turned on his lights and pulled the driver, who was later identified as Benton, in the parking lot of Crockett's McDonalds.
When the deputy approached the car to talk to Benton, he noticed that in addition to the unrestrained child in the back seat, there was a second little girl in the front seat who was also not buckled in either, the affidavit stated. In addition, the deputy allegedly noticed the smell of burned marijuana coming from the vehicle.
The deputy asked Benton why her kids weren't properly restrained and one of them was hanging out of a window of her car, and she told him that the little girls had refused after she had ordered them to sit down and put their seat belts on.
The deputy learned that the children's ages were 6 and 4.
Later, the deputy asked Benton to remove her children from the car after she gave him permission to search her vehicle.
According to the affidavit, the deputy found what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette with a burned end in a Sonic cup containing a cold, red liquid in the center console. In addition, the deputy found a small plastic baggie with a crystal-like substance that resembled methamphetamine in the side pocket of Benton's purse, which was located on the passenger seat where the 6-year-old had been sitting, the affidavit stated.
At that point, the HCSO deputy took Benton into custody and asked her to explain how the drugs got into her car. The affidavit stated that Benton told the deputy that she had recently bought the drink from the Sonic in Crockett and didn't know how the marijuana cigarette had gotten in her drink. She also allegedly said that she had recently borrowed the purse from a friend and didn't know that it had the meth in it.
The deputy contacted Child Protective Services, and they told him to take the two little girls to the Houston County Sheriff's Office, where someone from their agency would pick them up, the affidavit stated. Benton was taken to the Houston County Jail.