Mother charged after toddler allegedly found drunk

March 18, 2011 11:10:44 AM PDT
A Houston woman was in custody Thursday after police say her one-year-old daughter was found legally drunk Lashwanda Allen, 32, is charged with felony endangering a child.

Authorities say that her 20-month-old child had a blood alcohol content of .09 -- more than the legal limit for an adult to drive.

It's a case the prosecutor calls "shocking."

"Lashwanda is a very good mother," neighbor Creshenna Abraham said.

Abraham wouldn't tell us what she saw on February 21, but court documents say a woman by the same last name found Allen's 20-month-old daughter wandering near the parking lot outside her apartment and that the toddler seemed intoxicated and was falling down.

The woman brought the girl inside and called for an ambulance.

At about the same time, Allen's roomate had just returned home. Police say she ran into Allen outside and Allen told her the toddler was "drunk."

The roomate went upstairs looking for the child and instead found Allen's four-month-old baby hanging upside-down off the bed with sheets wrapped around her waist. The roommate says the baby was turning blue.

Neighbors couldn't believe it.

"It's like some folks don't deserve to have kids," neighbor Darius Wolridge said.

According to court documents, Allen tells police her two children had been in bed next to her, asleep . She claims she was drinking a Four Loko -- an alcoholic energy drink -- which she put on her nightstand before falling asleep.

Allen tells investigators she woke up to find her 20-month-old daughter with the empty can and that she looked drunk. She told police she didn't call an ambulance because she did not want to "get in trouble" and lose the children.

"We just need to show reckless conduct, and it's the state's position that having a can of alcohol open and accessible to a 20-month-old is reckless conduct," prosecutor Nathan Hennigan said.

Neighbors tell us Allen has five children. Abraham says she was simply overwhelmed.

"She loves them girls -- period," Abraham said. "She loves them. She needs help."

The children were OK Thursday evening. A Child Protective Services representative said all of Allen's children have been placed with a relative while they conduct their investigation.

Allen's bond was set at $2,000. If convicted, she could go to prison for up to two years.

*Previous versions of this story described the mother as 'drunk.' Court documents reviewed by the station contained a statement that she was drinking, but they did not contain a reference to her level of intoxication.