BUCKHANNON – Following a welfare check in the Buckhannon Walmart parking lot on Friday night, a local man is now facing a tort of child neglect causing risk of injury.
According to the criminal complaint, Ptlmn. J. Garrison and Upshur EMS were dispatched to the scene, where a man was reportedly passed out while driving his vehicle with burnt aluminum foil on his knees and a lighter in hand. By the time Ptlmn. Garrison was at the scene, EMS reportedly had the accused, identified as Lucas Jay Ridgeway, 30, of Buckhannon, awake and responsive. EMS also said a 2-year-old was in the back of the vehicle, strapped into a car seat.
After allegedly telling the on-site police officer that he had no drugs or paraphernalia in his possession, a strip of buprenorphine / naloxone and two folds of white waxed paper known to contain heroin were found on his person, according to court documents. Ridgeway reportedly told the officer he had smoked heroin earlier in the day, but was “just holding the foil”.
From witness statements regarding the defendant’s position in the vehicle, it was evident to the officer that Ridgeway had smoked heroin in the vehicle, causing him to pass out and exposing the 2-year-old to the fumes of the narcotic. .
If convicted of child neglect causing risk of injury, Ridgeway faces 1 to 5 years in a state correctional facility, a fine of $ 1,000 to $ 3,000, or both. Ridgeway is currently being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail in lieu of a $ 25,000 cash bond set by Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis.