by: Hannah Winston, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Updated:
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Police officers in Florida said they found three hypodermic needles within arm’s reach of a toddler Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop. When a woman in the vehicle was asked how this could happen, she said she panicked when she saw the patrol car’s emergency lights and threw the needles in the backseat, according to a Boca Raton police report.
Christine Maier, 31, of Okeechobee, told the officer it was a “panicked, stupid, mistake,” police said.
She remained in the Palm Beach County Jail early Thursday on $3,000 bail on charges of child neglect and possession of drug equipment.
On Tuesday afternoon, police noticed a Jeep parked in a handicapped parking spot at the Marathon gas station on Glades Road just east of Town Center at Boca Raton. After a while, another vehicle parked next to it, and a woman, later identified as Maier, walked out of the passenger side of the Jeep.
Maier met with a man who was inside the other car, and he handed her a plastic baggie, according to the report. After the two left, the Boca Raton officer noticed the Jeep did not make a full stop at a stop sign and a brake light was out, so the officer pulled the vehicle over.
The officer noted he saw Maier make movements with her head and hands as he pulled the Jeep over. The officer wrote when he walked up to the car, he noticed a toddler whose face had a fresh cut on it in the backseat without a car seat. The relationship between the woman and the child is redacted from the report.
After the officer took the information from the man driving the Jeep, he said he saw Maier make what appeared to be a “drug transition” at the gas station and asked if he could search the vehicle. After the man agreed, the officer found three hypodermic needles within arm’s reach of the toddler. A sunglasses case in the front passenger side of the car where Maier was sitting contained two more needles and “a white crystal-like residue.” The officer noted one of the needles “had a metal screw in place of a plastic plunger.”
The officer read the man and Maier their rights. Then the man began yelling at Maier after he saw the needles. Maier told officers she was just getting them for a friend so “he could use them to inject methamphetamines.” When asked about the cut on the toddler’s nose, she said the child had fallen the day before.
The driver told officers he had no idea about the needles and the only reason he drove Maier from Okeechobee to Boca Raton was because he had just gotten out of jail, and “it’s been a while since I’ve had a girl.”
The driver does not appear to have been arrested, according to jail records. The child is in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families, according to the report.
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