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EUREKA — A couple faces child abuse charges after deputies say they passed out in a parking lot from an apparent heroin overdose and then drove away with their three young children in the car.
Wayne County sheriff’s deputies and medics were dispatched to the Eureka Mini-Mart at 110 W. Main St. after a caller told 911 dispatchers the pair were asleep outside the store at 9:10 p.m. Wednesday. The man and woman woke and drove away just before responders arrived and deputies stopped the car nearby.
Ashley Lynn Nichols, 32, was driving the car with 42-year-old Forrest Bradley Faulkner in the passenger seat, according to the sheriff’s office. Nichols and Faulkner live on the 500 block of Watery Branch Church Road, which has a Stantonsburg address and is located in rural Wayne County near the Wilson and Greene county lines.
Nichols was “determined to be grossly impaired, operating a motor vehicle while her license was suspended and was transporting three of her children in the vehicle without being in a seat belt,” Sgt. M.E. Sellers of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Sellers said Faulkner, the children’s father, “was also determined to be grossly impaired.” Deputies say they found heroin when they arrested the pair. Authorities notified the Wayne County Department of Social Services.
Nichols and Faulkner were each charged with three counts of child abuse and one count of possession of heroin.
Nichols faces additional charges of driving while impaired, driving while license revoked, displaying a fictitious registration plate, operating a vehicle with no insurance, failure to register a motor vehicle and three counts of failure to secure a passenger under 16 years old.
Both suspects were booked into the Wayne County Detention Center in Goldsboro. Nichols was held under a $12,000 secured bond and Faulkner’s bond was set at $10,000.