While the 2-year-old stood on his mother's lap, playing with the car's steering wheel, controls for the turn signal and wiper blades, his parents were passed out in the front seat, their car engine running in a Walmart parking lot.
They were found early Tuesday, just after midnight, and were shocked when a Fort Wayne police officer knocked on the window of their silver Buick Enclave, according to court documents.
Bryce Dream Carrier, 22, of Columbia City, the father of the boy, and Megan A. Gawthrop, 22, his mother, also of Columbia City, were both charged with neglect of a dependent.
Gawthrop has additional charges for felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated or with a controlled substance in her system and misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in her system.
Both admitted to using heroin, court documents said. Carrier, sitting in the passenger's seat, told police the couple had come to Walmart to buy their son a toy.
Carrier was unsteady on his feet, his voice was low and raspy and his pupils were “pinpoint.” The officer said he asked Carrier how much heroin he had used, fearing that he might be overdosing, court documents said.
Carrier responded that he had snorted .03 gram. He said he and Gawthrop had argued briefly when they got to Walmart before they fell asleep in the car. He thought they'd been there about an hour before police arrived.
Gawthrop said she used “a small amount of heroin” prior to driving to Walmart, and said she had used heroin earlier in the day, court documents said.
Both were released on their own recognizance and have court hearings Friday.