Two Charged with Child Neglect

Two Big Pine Key residents were arrested Wednesday evening, charged with child neglect.

Dispatchers received a report of a reckless driver. The caller said the male driver was doing “whippits”, the street name for inhaling gas from a whip cream can to get high. The caller also said there was a woman in the car with two children.

Deputy Dave Chavka spotted the car on Sands Road. He saw it turn onto Avenue D with no signal, so he pulled it over. 28 year old Jamie Bernard and 22 year old Francesca Fleming jumped out of the car. Both refused to listen when the deputy told them to stop; Bernard had cans of whipped cream in his hand and walked over to a garbage can and threw them in. They were later recovered; Deputy Chavka observed all three were empty of gas.

The deputy asked Bernard what he was doing with them and he said “doing whippits”. Deputy Scott Ward arrived as back up and he was detained. Fleming said she was just getting a ride to the store so she could buy food for the children, age 2 and 5, who in the car. She claimed to be the caregiver for the children. She admitted to buying the whipped cream for Bernard.

Upon further questioning, Fleming told the deputy she was three months pregnant. When the deputy found needles in her purse and what appeared to be drug residue, she told him she is an intravenous drug user.

Both Bernard and Fleming were arrested and taken to jail for child neglect. The children were turned over to a parent.