HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Authorities said a woman left one 6-month-old infant at the scene of a car wreck in Harrison County on Tuesday. Officials discovered a second child, the infant’s twin, home alone.
26-year-old Fantasia Martinez of Marshall was arrested and charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child, driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, escaping and resisting arrest/transport.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said they received “dozens” of calls around 9:45 p.m. from drivers on I-20 eastbound, around mile marker 619, saying that a woman was “running into traffic.” A DPS Trooper found her around mile marker 623.
“Martinez appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and possibly narcotics due to her erratic behavior and difficulty making complete sense of the situation,” a press release stated.
Martinez reportedly told deputies during an interview that “her vehicle had broken down and both her children were still in the vehicle.” Because of the proximity to the interstate, the situation for deputies and troopers escalated concern for the welfare of the children.
She was arrested and put in the back of an HCSO vehicle. Authorities searched the area and found Martinez’s vehicle at the end of Buck Sherrod Road, south of I-20.
“The vehicle appeared to have crashed through multiple road barricades, the engine was still running, and an infant was in the backseat, coming to a rest at a tree,” according to the press release. A deputy reportedly had to break out a window to the vehicle to rescue the infant.
Meanwhile, Martinez “escaped custody from the patrol unit. The deputy had to divert his attention from checking the child’s condition and regain control of Martinez. Martinez continued to resist, but eventually, the deputies successfully regained control and re-secured her.”
Once she was re-secured, authorities said she began asking about her second child. Her wrecked vehicle had two infant car seat carriers, giving deputies reason to believe a second child was missing.
Several agencies joined in on a “detailed, methodical” search that lasted roughly 35 minutes and included around 60 first responders. One deputy suffered from heat exhaustion during the search and was treated on-scene.
During that search, authorities received an address where the other infant might be located. Martinez had reportedly just moved to that address, which was near their search area. Deputies went to that address, forced entry and found the second child unharmed.
Both infants are now in CPS custody.
Harrison County Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said, “Thank you to the Deputies, DPS, ESDs, and Marshall Fire Department for their efforts in locating these children. It is heartbreaking to know that some children have to live in these conditions, but I am glad no lives were lost.”