The story that broke the world’s heart is now getting some good news.
A photo of a couple in the front seat of a car, high on heroin, went viral after people took issue with what was in the back seat — a 4-year-old boy.
Kevin Thompson, an officer in East Liverpool, Ohio, began following a Ford Explorer that was driving dangerously near a school bus full of children. He became concerned when the car braked hard and then skidded to a stop, according to NBC affiliate KCRA.
He approached the vehicle and what he found shocked him. Both passengers in the front seat of the car were completely unresponsive and high on heroin.
He said the driver, 47-year-old James Accord had “pinpoint pupils” and kept bobbing his head up and down. The passenger, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, was unconscious and turning blue. But Thompson was most struck by the backseat passenger, a 4-year-old boy quietly sitting in a car seat, KCRA reports.
As he was waiting for emergency responders, he decided to snap a picture, which was later uploaded to the city’s Facebook page in order to show the devastating effects of heroin.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug,” says the caption to the picture, shared on the City of East Liverpool’s Facebook page. “We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
Pasek, who is the boy’s grandmother and primary caretaker, has been charged with child endangerment and public intoxication. She is currently in jail awaiting trial, according to NBC News.
Luckily, the boy will have a new home with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina.
Pasek’s sister, who wished to remain anonymous, is furious with the East Liverpool police department, saying that they crossed a line posting the picture.
“The city of East Liverpool humiliated my family and humiliated that little boy,” she said to NBC. “They could have blurred his face and they didn’t. And now they’re taking him away from my sister. I’m not condoning what Rhonda done, but what they did to her and what they’re doing to her grandson is too much.”
Brian Allen, director of public services and safety in East Liverpool and original uploader of the photo, says that he has no regrets. To him, heroin abuse is a national problem that needs to be seen and talked about.
While the 4-year-old has a new home, his 3-year-old brother still lives with Pasek’s sister.
Sources: NBC News, KCRA / Photo credit: City of East Liverpool, Ohio/Facebook