Weatherford Democrat

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June 20, 2013

Mother who left child unsupervised near highway sentenced

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A mother whose 3-year-old son was left unsupervised close to Interstate 20 after she passed out in the vehicle was sentenced to a full 18-months in prison last week.

Tiffany Gwyn Gowins, 26, pleaded guilty June 6 to a state jail felony of endangering a child and faced probation to two years in prison on the charge, according to Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain.

Weatherford police were dispatched to the Super Value Inn near Interstate 20 and South Main shortly after 2 a.m. Oct. 4 when the manager reported Gowins, a guest of a resident, was keeping a neighboring occupant awake.

Officers reported finding a barefoot toddler jumping and crawling inside a vehicle in the parking lot and were unable to wake Gowins, who was unconscious in the driver’s seat of the unlocked vehicle.

The child even opened the car door, according to police.

However, an officer standing near the door prevented the child from getting out.

According to Det. Lannie Fulton, “if officers had not been there, the 3-year-old child could have opened the door and left without any supervision from an adult.”

One of the things that stuck out to prosecutors was the close proximity of the I-20 service road, Swain said, estimating the boy was about 40 to 50 yards away.

After loading her into an ambulance, paramedics were able to wake Gowins with a shot of adrenaline intended for people under the use of narcotics, police reported at the time.

She admitted to taking Xanax and Valium, according to Swain, who added that an officer smelled alcohol on her and found Hydrocodone in her purse.

The child was placed in foster care following the incident.

Gowins will have to serve day-for-day time on the 18-month sentence, minus the time she spent the Parker County Jail, Swain said.

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