MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Pine County day care provider has pleaded guilty to child neglect after a 22-month-old girl in her care walked away and onto a nearby highway. The little girl wasn’t hurt, but the day care provider told police she had been drinking vodka and taking cough syrup that day, court documents say.
Fifty-six-year-old Carrie Ann Richardson, of Sandstone, was charged with neglect of a child and endangerment of a child – both gross misdemeanors. On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to the child neglect charge. The other charge is expected to be dismissed when she’s sentenced.
Richardson is the operator and part-owner of Building Blocks Daycare, which has since been closed. Her daycare license is currently suspended.
On June 12, two residents rescued the little girl after she wandered onto Highway 23 near Oriole Street West, a criminal complaint says. When authorities arrived on the scene, they tried to figure out where the girl wandered off from. That search led them to Building Blocks Daycare.
When authorities spoke with Richardson, she gave conflicting statements on how many children were supposed to be in her care. Authorities also said it was clear that Richardson didn’t know the little girl had been missing. The gate to the fenced-in play area, authorities noticed, was open.
Authorities also noticed Richardson’s speech was slow, her eyes were glossed over and she smelled of alcohol, the complaint said. Richardson told authorities she had been drinking prescription cough syrup that day — one that contained codeine. She said she took considerably more than the directions advised.
In a statement, Richardson said she was stressed about an up-coming vacation and garage sale. She said drank about four glasses of wine that day; but when she failed to find the wine bottle, Richardson said she had been drinking vodka, about four mixed drinks.
A breathalyzer test showed Richardson had a breath alcohol content of .114.
When her husband arrived at the scene, he said he had no idea his wife had been drinking. He also said that he had never known her to be a heavy drinker.
Richardson’s sentencing is set for Dec. 13, 2013.