Woman Accused of Using Drugs in front of Child Waives Hearing

news1DUBOIS – An Emporium woman who is accused of using drugs in a vehicle while a child was present waived her right to a preliminary hearing Friday in District Judge Patrick Ford’s office.

Jessica May Steger, 27, 33 Midland Dr., Emporium, is charged with endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Her bail was set at $5,000, unsecured.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Jan.20, 2012, police were called to the Snappy’s convenience store in Sandy Township to investigate a report that three adults were shooting up drugs in a vehicle while a child was present. A witness saw at least one of them injecting themselves using a needle.

When an officer arrived, he saw a female later identified as Steger, walking away from a vehicle parked at the first pump. He called to her but she walked away. When the officer said he needed to talk to her, she started to walk toward him but then turned around, walking away. He yelled again that he needed to talk to her and she walked back to him. She was told to put her purse on the hood of the vehicle, but she refused claiming he needed a search warrant.

She started to reach into her purse and the officer grabbed hold of her and told her to put her hands on the vehicle. She pulled away and tried to run away. The officer grabbed her, and told her he was going to place her in handcuffs for his safety. She yelled “no!” and pulled away. The officer was able to put her on the hood of the vehicle. As he was putting the handcuffs on her, she still refused to release the purse and he had to rip it out of her hand.

A man, Cody Allen Andrus, 24, jumped out of the rear passenger side and started to scream at the officer. While he told the man to stay where he was, Steger slipped her hand out of one of the cuffs and got her purse again. At this point, the officer called for backup because she was resisting and they said there was another man with them.

The officer re-cuffed and secured her. Because Andrus was aggressive, he also put handcuffs on him. After another officer arrived, the officer was able to put the woman in his vehicle and the man in the other officer’s vehicle. This man admitted to the officer that he was “shooting the stuff up” in the vehicle. Steger also admitted she had just loaded a needle and was walking to the rest room to shoot it.

While looking in the purse for identification, an officer found a capped needle full of some type of liquid. Steger told him it was ritalin. She also admitted that she had suboxone, ritalin and vitamin K in her purse.

The second man, Derrick Scott Gribble, 26, was located in the store. He said he had taken a number of used needles, which he put in the men’s rest room trash. The trash was taken as evidence.

All three appeared to be under the influence of something and were given field tests for drug use. They all failed and admitted to using narcotics. They had blood traces on their arms where they had injected themselves. Each subject had a new prescription they had just picked up from the doctor and pharmacy.

Gribble stated he was sorry for doing this in front of his 4-year-old son who was in the vehicle.

The vehicle was searched and police found numerous other items of drug paraphernalia including a container of used needles and other needles that were full, capped and secured.

The child told police that his father and his friends had to take their medicine and did so in front of him. He was later released to his mother.

Gribble and Andrus, both of Emporium, are scheduled for a preliminary hearings May 24. Gribble is charged with endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.

Andrus is charged with endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

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