POLK COUNTY, Florida (WFLA) – A pregnant Winter Haven woman was charged with child abuse after she overdosed in a Publix parking lot and was required to undergo an emergency cesarean section, authorities said.
Marsha Forrester, 36, was found in a hot car with two children in the backseat at a Publix on Spirit Lake Road, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
Investigators say Forrester had stopped at a nearby Circle K after picking up her children in Lakeland. She went inside to use cocaine and left the kids in the car. Then she got back into the car and drove across the parking lot to the Publix and passed out.
The Polk County Fire Rescue arrived to find Forrester and the children in the car, which was running with the air conditioning turned off. They said she was slumped over the wheel and the children were crying and sweating. The temperature was 90 degrees with a heat index of 99 degrees, authorities said.
Forrester was given two doses of Narcan, then rushed to the hospital to undergo an emergency cesarean section. The baby is said to be in critical condition.
The other children were not injured.
Forrester told investigators she had used cocaine several times over the past two days.
She was released from the hospital and arrested and charged with two counts of negligent child abuse without great bodily harm.
Authorities say Forrester was previously arrested for felony robbery and misdemeanor prostitution and battery.
“I’m both furious and heartbroken about this. Two small children and a baby who was due to be born soon were put into serious danger all because this woman wanted to get high. She chose cocaine over the safety of these little ones,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.