Grandmother in heroin photo gets 180 days in jail

Story highlights

  • Grandmother in drug controversial photo pleads no contest
  • Ohio city released photos of her and driver passed out in car front seat with boy in back

(CNN)A woman in graphic photos showing her passed out in a car with her young grandson after she allegedly overdosed on heroin has been ordered to serve the next half-year in an Ohio jail.

Rhonda Pasek was sentenced Thursday to 180 days in jail and ordered to pay $280 in fines after pleading no contest in an East Liverpool court to endangering a child and disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
The plea and sentence came just eight days after she and the driver were arrested in East Liverpool, a city of about 11,000 people along the Ohio River near the state lines of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
    The photos, distributed by city officials, showed Pasek sitting in the passenger seat slumped next to the unconscious driver on September 7. Her 4-year-old grandson was seated in the back, looking out the window.
    Pasek had pleaded not guilty last week, but the plea changed during a pretrial hearing Thursday in East Liverpool Municipal Court.
    CNN wasn't immediately able to reach Pasek's public defender, Stacey Alejars, on Thursday.

    Car was weaving between lanes, police say

    The arrests came after an officer spotted a car weaving erratically between lanes, police said in an affidavit.
    The city of East Liverpool, Ohio, said it's trying to warn the public about the dangers of heroin.
    After the car was pulled over, the driver, James Acord, tried to tell the officer he was taking Pasek to a hospital. But Acord then passed out, police said.
    Paramedics administered Narcan, an opiate reversal agent, to Pasek, who was turning blue, the affidavit said. The pair "almost definitely" would have died had police not intervened, Brian Allen, East Liverpool's service-safety director, told CNN.
    Acord pleaded no contest last week to operating a vehicle while impaired and endangering a child. He was sentenced to 360 days in jail, had his driver's license suspended for three years and was fined $475.
    The East Liverpool city government said it released the photos of the pair to raise awareness about the perils of heroin.
    "This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody," the city's Facebook post read.

    Boy will live with different set of relatives

    Pasek had been granted custody of her grandson six weeks before the arrest, said Dane Walton, administrator for the Columbiana County Juvenile Court. The boy's parents had been unable to raise him.
    He will now live with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina, Walton said.