Couple Overdose on Heroin with Two Children in the Car

A couple is facing child abuse charges after they allegedly overdosed on heroin while driving with their two kids. Saginaw County District Judge Terry L. Clark on Thursday, June 21, arraigned Stephen A. Vliet, 28, and Brandy Lynn Tubbs, 26, on a count of second-degree child abuse. The charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Clark also arraigned Vliet on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

Clark said the allegations sworn to him by a Saginaw County Sheriff's Office investigator are that Vliet and Tubbs had driven to Saginaw County to buy heroin, which they subsequently ingested. As they drove through Spaulding Township near the intersection of Sheridan and Williamson roads, they began losing consciousness and the vehicle coasted, the judge said. Bridgeport Township Fire Chief Patrick Nelson, speaking to MLive, said his agency responded to the scene about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19. The vehicle had come to a halt in the roadway, but had not struck anything, Nelson said.

Inside the vehicle at the time were Vliet's 10-year-old son and Tubbs' 9-year-old daughter, authorities have said. "This is really shocking to the court," Judge Clark said. "These are innocent babies and but for the grace that that vehicle didn't hit somebody else... MMR had to arrive on scene to revive the people in the front two seats. The children were telling the police what Mommy and Daddy were doing."

Vliet, of Alger, and Tubbs, of Roscommon, both said they are employed. Vliet has a criminal record dating back to a 2009 drug conviction in Iosco County and is on probation on convictions of driving without a license and driving while under the influence. Tubbs has no criminal history. "I'm in a treatment program already," Tubbs told the judge during her arraignment. "I was down here going to my doctor. Because my doctor was out of town for a week, that put me late for my medication. My appointment was Tuesday; that's where I was heading."

Clark said first responders notified the Department of Human Services and the two children have since been placed in safe environments. Clark set Vliet's bond at $10,000 cash-surety and ordered he receive substance abuse treatment in the jail. The judge set Tubbs' bond at $7,500 cash-surety or 10 percent, saying hers was less due to her lack of a criminal record. The couple is to appear for a preliminary examination at 3:15 p.m. on Monday, July 9.

  • 3 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • This is a sad and tragic story, for sure. But part of me hates when stories like this get picked up by media outlets all over the country because I think this is the kind of story that keeps the stigma of addiction alive and well. Sure, what happened is horrible. I'm not trying to discount that. But I think incidents like this are the exception, not the rule. When they are all over the media, though, I think people start to think this is "typical" addict behavior. I dunno. Maybe I'm crazy. I guess stuff like this has to be reported. I'm just conflicted about it. *sigh*
  • @DeanD Super sad story however know what else is sad, all the comments at the bottom of that news article. So much negativity, accusations & name calling. Glad the children are ok and no child should grow up seeing that! Spewing hate towards the parents for being “no good druggies” and “junkies” isn’t going to help with the problem.
  • I didn't read the comments, @blueorchid. I've learned over the years that reading comments on stories like that is just going to make me sick to my stomach. The vitriol and hate that people spew about people struggling with addiction is just so disappointing and sad. :'(
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