Wheeler in custody for child neglect

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A 29-year-old Burkeville woman was in Lunenburg County Circuit Court on Dec. 19 facing a probation violation in connection to 2014 convictions for possession of controlled substances and felony child neglect when her attorney asked for a continuance until after she had her baby in January.

Circuit Court Judge S. Anderson Nelson stated he wanted Amanda Brooke Wheeler to take a drug test before allowing the continuance because he did not want her to continue using drugs while pregnant. Wheeler agreed and said she would test clean, however, the test came back positive for methamphetamines, fentanyl, oxycodone and another prescription drug.

According to Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, fentanyl is now considered one of the most powerful narcotics being abused, causing hundreds — if not thousands — of deaths throughout the country.

“Judge Nelson revoked Wheeler’s bond and remanded her to jail until Feb. 20 and will consider releasing her on a medical furlough when she goes into labor,” officials said in the release. “Wheeler is alleged to have violated her probation by testing positive in September for opiates, marijuana and amphetamines. She also failed to report to an intensive inpatient substance abuse treatment center that had been arranged for her in October.”

She was also discharged from her outpatient substance abuse treatment at Crossroads Community Services Board for noncompliance.

“In 2015 Wheeler ruined her chance to avoid two felony convictions by failing to successfully complete probation for a deferred adjudication in Lunenburg Circuit Court for possession of schedule II drug and felony child endangerment,” officials said in the release.

Wheeler was sentenced to five years on each conviction with all suspended except 90 days.

According to Clement, Wheeler, who obtained her LPN license in 2010, had been given the chance in August 2014 to avoid the felony drug possession conviction under the first offender statute and avoid the felony child endangerment conviction as a deferred adjudication if she had successfully complied with the terms of her probation, including good behavior, counseling and community service.

Subsequently, the defendant was convicted in Feb. 2015 in Nottoway County of driving on a suspended license. She also completed only one hour and 28 minutes of the 100 hours of community service ordered, failed to appear for a substance abuse evaluation and missed 16 appointments with her probation officer.

The charges against Wheeler arose on May 12, 2014 at 10:15 a.m. when Lunenburg Deputy Sheriff Greg Currin noticed her car tags and inspection sticker were expired. Wheeler was driving and had a 2-year-old son in the vehicle unsecured. Currin ran a record check on her and discovered that there was an outstanding capias for her in Nottoway County for failure to appear in court.

“In conducting a search incident to the arrest, Currin discovered various pill bottles, loose pills, several syringes and two spoons, one containing an orange-colored burnt residue,” officials said in the release. “At first Wheeler said the syringes were for her son’s diabetes but later admitted that she used them to shoot up drugs but add(ed) that she had not done so for three months. She said she had several prescriptions for painkillers and would sometimes snort them, admitting that she had snorted a Percocet that morning.”

She said she snorted the drugs because they would get into her system faster. An analysis at the state lab revealed that Wheeler had 24 tablets of Hydromorphone, one sublingual film of “Suboxone” consisting of buprenorphine and naloxone, one tablet of Oxycodone and one Clonazepam. She said she had them for pain as the result of an accident.

The release cited that Wheeler was given a drug test by a representative of the Department of Social Services with a positive finding for Benzodiazepine.

“Wheeler also said that her son had been in a bad car accident last year and that any kind of head trauma would be fatal to him,” officials said in the release. “When asked why she would take a chance of him getting in an accident while not being in a car seat, Wheeler responded, ‘I know what I’m doing.’”

When asked if she was getting Percocet from someone other than a doctor, she responded, “I mean, every once in a while, yes,” but said she had stopped buying the drugs from nonmedical sources because she had heard that the police were watching her.

The social services representative also reported that when she transported the child from the scene, he was thirsty and reached for his bottle in the diaper bag. The worker looked inside the baby bottle and found that the juice was spoiled and that there was mold in the nipple of the bottle. The child also had eczema and an abrasion under his right eye.

The child has been placed with another responsible family member.

In addition to her sentence, the defendant was ordered to be subject to conditions of a suspended jail sentence of nine years and nine months including good behavior for 10 years, supervised probation for one year, substance abuse counseling, a parenting class and warrantless searches for five years.