LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. – A Lincoln County mom was arrested after troopers say she got high and crashed her car with her two small children in the backseat.
Candace Coffey, 25, was in her car on Kidville Road in Denver when witnesses say they saw her shoot up heroin and start driving.
Witnesses reportedly followed Coffey down the street and called 911. Coffey lost control of her car a short while later and crashed into a power pole. Neighbors heard the crash and ran outside.
"I went outside and seen people running and screaming," says Dana Reel, who was home with her 4-year-old daughter.
Her next door neighbor ran across the street to help.
"I heard kids screaming," Brian says.
Both say it was obvious Coffey was high. Brian says he calmed down the children, ages 5 and 2, while Coffey was loaded onto a stretcher.
He quickly learned it was the 5-year-old's birthday.
"The little girl started crying and I said, 'It'll be alright honey,'" Brian says.
He went into the store nearby and bought the girl some chocolate milk.
Troopers charged Coffey with child abuse and driving while impaired.
Not surprising to Reel, who says heroin use is a major problem in her Lincoln County community.
"It's just too close to home," Reel says as she brushes her daughter's hair. "It's happening all the time. I'm thankful that the sheriff is trying to get it under control and arresting these people, but it's an epidemic. It's bad."
Coffey admitted to being an alcoholic on her Facebook page back in February. In the same post, she vows that she is ready to change.
Coffey had her first appearance on this case on Tuesday. She is due back in court next month.
The children's father and grandparents responded to the scene of the crash. DSS temporarily took the children into custody.
Neighbors hope the crash is a sobering scare.
"It's very sad," Coffey says. "The children, I'm glad they're okay."
Copyright 2016 WCNC