2 people charged with child neglect after traffic stop in Elkins

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The Elkins Police Department charged two Upshur County residents with child neglect after making a traffic stop Tuesday.

On February 19, during a traffic stop at Woodford Oil, another officer pulled into the gas station to provide assistance.  At that time, the officer saw a car sitting between the gas pumps that had a tint darker than what is legal, according to a criminal complaint.  The car left once law enforcement was in the area.

The officer followed the car from the gas station, seeing it touch the yellow line twice along North Randolph Avenue.  As the car approached the intersection of North Randolph Avenue and Harrison Avenue, the officer said he saw a vehicle approach, shining its headlights toward the car he was following, which caused the driver to make abrupt braking motions, even as the light stayed green.  At that time, the officer turned on the siren and emergency lights, as the car continued onto Railroad Avenue, where it traveled 15 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to a criminal complaint.

The driver, identified as Parthena Sheets, 27, of Buckhannon, pulled into the GoMart parking lot, and the officer explained the reason for the stop and asked for her information, police said.  Inside the car were a man known to be a drug user, another man, identified as Matthew Alderman, 32, of French Creek, and two girls who were asleep, according to a criminal complaint.

While speaking with Sheets, Alderman started asking why they had been stopped, and he acted irritated as the officer explained it again, police said.  The officer then saw Alderman maneuvering around on his right side and between the door and seal, as though he were trying to hide something, according to a criminal complaint.

Police said other officers arrived to provide assistance, at which time one of them saw a glass smoking device on the passenger side.  After officers got the occupants out of the car, they began a search of it, according to police.

During a search, police said they found an unzipped black backpack on the front passenger side.  Inside the backpack, officers found multiple clear baggies, along with a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine in a glass container, according to a criminal complaint.  Officers also recovered multiple baggies containing large crystal substances consistent with methamphetamine, clear baggies containing a green vegetative substance consistent with marijuana, a clear baggie containing a brown powdery substance consistent with heroin, multiple clear baggies, a digital scale consistent with the sale and distribution of controlled substances and two Medicaid cards, police said.  As police continued the search, officers said they also found money, a gun and a holster.

After completing the initial search, police said they saw that the two girls in the car were within reach of unopened and opened alcoholic beverages and knives.  Officers also found a phone inside a case, and when they opened the case, police found a small baggie containing suspected methamphetamine, according to a criminal complaint.  The total approximate weight of the crystalline substance found in the car was 95.3 grams, police said.

A representative from Child Protective Services took the children into custody, police said.

Alderman is charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and child neglect with risk of serious injury.  Sheets is charged with child neglect with risk of serious injury and conspiracy.  They are each in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

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