Salem Woman Sentenced to Prison on Child Neglect Charge


A 27-year-old woman was sentenced to one to five years in prison on a child neglect charge in Harrison County Circuit Court Thursday.

Whitney Chipps, of Salem, left her 5-month-old son inside a locked, parked car in May 2016 with the engine running while she shopped at the Emily Drive Walmart, according to the state. 

Chipps’ attorney James Hawkins filed a motion to request a judgement of acquittal by arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction. Judge Thomas Bedell said that the state met the burden of proof and denied the motion.

Chipps addressed the court and apologized, stating that she would never put her son in harms way. She pleaded not guilty to the charge in January and plans to appeal the conviction. 

Bedell said she would receive credit for time served and must register with the child abuse and neglect registry for 10 years. Chipps was not fined but must pay court costs.

When Chipps was out on bond for the child neglect charge in December 2016, she was charged with driving under the influence causing death after a vehicle accident in Lewis County. The accident killed Erin Marshall-Heater, 33, who was a mother of three. Chipps’ blood alcohol content was .118 when she was transported to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital following the accident.

Chipps was arraigned in Lewis County Monday on the DUI causing death charge and had her trial set for October.

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