Two women facing child neglect charges in unrelated cases

Local police are investigating two unrelated child neglect cases that occurred in Monongalia County less than three hours apart, both involving an allegedly intoxicated parent. 

At around 11:45 p.m. Sunday, first responders were sent to the scene of a vehicle accident between mile markers 154–153 in the southbound lanes of Interstate 79. The crash involved a car that had flipped on its side with two people trapped inside. 

After the victims were safely out of the car, Westover police identified the driver as Vickie Lynn Gay, 52, of Fayetteville. Her juvenile son was a passenger in the vehicle. 

According to the criminal complaint, police noticed Gay had glassy eyes, was slurring her speech and swayed while standing. 

She was given a field sobriety test and allegedly exhibited several signs of impairment. 

Gay was taken into custody and given a breathalyzer at the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department which measured the blood-alcohol content at that time to be 0.187. 

For driving under the influence with her son in the vehicle, Gay is charged with child neglect creating a risk of death or serious injury. 

Then, shortly after 2 a.m. Monday morning, Morgantown Police were called to the emergency department at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital for a child with an apparent head injury. 

Hospital security requested police investigate after Ashley Bennett, 36, of Morgantown, came in to have her daughter checked out because she had fallen on her head.  

According to court documents, Bennett told police that her 1-year-old daughter was on the phone with her father when she fell off Barnett’s lap and landed head-first onto concrete. She then drove the baby to Ruby for treatment.  

While interviewing the mother, police said they smelled alcohol on her breath and noticed multiple signs of impairment including slurred speech, difficulty understanding simple instructions, swaying while standing still and a slow, unsteady walk.   

Based on their observations, police determined Bennett was under the influence of alcohol and is responsible for the injury to the baby by being intoxicated while acting as the sole supervisor of her daughter.   

This negligence, police stated, resulted in the fall which caused the injury to the child’s head.  

Bennett is charged with child neglect resulting in injury. She was released from custody after posting 10% of a $25,000 bond. 

Gay was also released from custody after posting 10% of a $10,000 bond. 

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