Couple passed out in running vehicle with child in backseat

February 12, 2020

Couple passed out in running vehicle with child in backseat

Media Contact: Makayla Chancey, PIO

In the early hours of February 11, 2020 around 5 a.m., the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a vehicle left running in the street with an individual passed out inside. The caller also advised the vehicle had been there since about 3 a.m.

A Hardee County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the scene and immediately noticed a van in the middle of the street left running with its lights on. Getting a closer look, the deputy also saw a baby in the backseat with dirt on its face and sitting in a car seat filled with what appeared to be rotten food. The driver of the vehicle, Brittany McDaniel, was passed out and so was a male in the front passenger seat.

As the deputy attempted to wake McDaniel, she pressed the gas pedal and the van jolted forward until she again pressed the brake. The deputy also had to repeatedly tell her to put the vehicle in park.

Exiting the van, she seemed to be very disoriented and had to hold onto the side of the vehicle for support. When asked whose baby was in the backseat, she stated she didn’t know who it belonged to and she didn’t know who the male passenger was either, but after more questioning, she said the baby was hers and the male was her boyfriend, Alexander Herrera.

McDaniel told law enforcement she drank a bottle of liquor the night before and consumed meth and cocaine. A license check on her also confirmed her driver’s license was suspended and the tag on the van belonged to a different vehicle. When Herrera was woken up, he also admitted to consuming meth.

Both subjects were arrested on scene and the baby was placed in temporary care with a family member and a report was filed with the Florida Department of Children and Families. Drug equipment was also found in the van and had cocaine and methamphetamine residue on it.

Brittany McDaniel was booked into the Hardee County Jail and charged with possession of meth and cocaine, drug equipment possession and/or use, driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence and aggravated child abuse.

Alexander Herrera was also booked in and charged with possession of meth, drug equipment possession and/or use and attached tag not assigned.

Thank you to the caller who reported the van to us, this truly shows the importance of see something, say something. If you see or hear anything suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately, it could save a life.