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Mom high on drugs crashes with baby in car

1-22-14 Sarah Estep
1-22-14 Sarah Estep
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Updated: 1/22 7:46 pm

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A mother who crashed her car with her baby inside is in jail tonight.

The Department of Children and Families says 29-year-old Sarah Estep wasn't supposed to be alone with her daughter without another adult.

Clay County sheriff documents show the mother was high on drugs when she got into the crash. Lt. Ron Hodges said the situation was made worse because her baby was in the car.

“What's the difference between being impaired with a child in the car and putting a loaded gun to their head? You don't know what's going to happen. If you've got your finger on the trigger of a gun, it’s the same thing as operating a motor vehicle," said Hodges.

Estep failed four different sobriety tests, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Even more concerning for John Harrell, with the Department of Children and Families, is the fact that Estep wasn’t supposed to be alone with the child.

"You're talking about a child that's not supposed to be with that mother unsupervised. Also, there is a report that the mother may have been high. This is a major concern to us. This could have been worse," said Harrell.

DCF says it’s impossible to monitor all families all the time and Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to beef up DCF personnel would be a huge help.

"If we're able to hire 400 investigators statewide, they will be able to lower that average case number from 13 down to 10,” said Harrell.

Estep's 8-month-old daughter is safe with family tonight, and an investigation has been opened to determine how this happened.

"The father was certainly very concerned. He's cooperating with us. We're working with him to assure the safety of that child,” said Harrell.

DCF investigators say they hope after learning exactly what happened they hope they can prevent it from happening to any other child.

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