(As originally published with additional photos, Tue, December 26th 2023)
THE VILLAGES, Fla. (TND) — Somebody in a quiet residential neighborhood called the sheriff’s office about a suspicious vehicle and the deputy who responded got a bit of a surprise in the back seat.
It was a black Dodge Ram pickup truck with only three tires on the ground.
The deputy reported “its driver side front tire propped up on a center median.”
This happened just inside a gated community in Florida at 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.
The deputy wrote about the driver in his arrest report, saying, “The defendant was initially passed out, prior to me waking him. “
“When the defendant was awakened, he leaned back, and I observed numerous items of tin foil with burn streaks in the defendant’s lap.
“Additionally, I observed a straw and the defendant’s lap as well as an iPad to the right of the defendant, which had an unknown powdery residue on the screen.
“I removed the defendant from the vehicle and detained him in hand restraints.”
Then, according to the arrest report, “The defendant informed me narcotics were in the vehicle, and that he and his girlfriend had gotten into an argument before the defendant suffered from an overdose.”
The driver, Dallas McDaniel, was going to be “receiving services” under Florida’s Marchman Act, for people “severely impaired due to substance abuse.”
But then, something unexpected.
“When I returned to the Dodge Ram, I heard a groaning sound from the back seat and located a young child laying in the back seat, unrestrained.”
The child’s name was blacked out in the report, along with an age or relationship, and he’s referred to as the victim.
“The victim was uninjured and removed from the vehicle.
“Through a search of the vehicle, a green leafy substance, brown powdery substance, and clear crystalline substance were located in the front center console region of the truck.
“The green leafy substance ultimately tested positive from marijuana. The brown powdery substance and clear crystalline substance tested positive for heroin.
“The iPad which was positioned on the center armrest which was accessible from the back seat where the victim was laying tested positive on the surface of the screen for heroin.”
The deputy wrote all about how “the victim while within the truck was in the direct proximity to dangerous narcotics.
“The victim was also in a position to be exposed to those same dangerous narcotics.”
Fast forward 19 hours until late that evening.
The deputy wrote about McDaniel’s girlfriend telling him she expected McDaniel to bring the child to her Friday afternoon “after he visited his father.”
That was at about 2 p.m. Then, she called him “numerous times” and he answered at about 6 p.m., again saying “he would bring the child home” to the girlfriend and he hung up.
He didn’t arrive so she “tried calling a couple more times with the latest attempt at approximately 11 p.m.”
He was found in that suspicious vehicle about four hours later.
The plan was to arrest McDaniel after his treatment, which consisted of a hospital visit and a rehabilitation center. That came 10 days later, on Dec. 19.
McDaniel, 25, was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm, which is a felony, and he was released after 24 hours.
It was not McDaniel’s first arrest. It was actually his seventh in almost seven years in Sumter County alone.
He was arrested three times in 2017, for marijuana possession, a second time with no booking photo available that ended with six days in jail, and then on five drug charges resulting in three days in jail.
In 2018, there was resisting an officer and probation violation. McDaniel spent five-and-a-half months in jail.
In 2021, there were three out-of-county warrants.
And, in 2022, there were three drug charges, which led to three months in jail.