Child endangerment charges have been lodged against a couple after police noticed the scent of marijuana wafting from their vehicle where a toddler was sleeping in the backseat.

“The child smelled of an odor of burnt marijuana,” police revealed of their discovery of the young child, under the age of three, in the backseat of a vehicle.

Police encountered the vehicle at Frazier McEwen Park as they were clearing the park for the evening. Inside was the driver, Paul Fletcher and passenger, Kaeona Nichols along with the toddler who was not properly restrained in a child restraint seat.

“When I asked why the child was not in a child restraint seat, Mr. Fletcher became hostile,” the officer reported, noting he ran the driver’s license and found out it was suspended.

When the policeman returned to the car after running Fletcher’s license he smelled the scent of marijuana which he said was “overwhelming” when it wafted from the car. The officer ordered the suspects out of the car and Fletcher admitted to having a weapon under the seat. The lawman also noticed marijuana residue on Nichols’ lap that had not been there before. “She admitted to disposing of the marijuana under the passenger seat,” the officer noted.

Fletcher bolted as police reached under the driver seat for the weapon, prompting a chase which ended when they collared him on Wilson Avenue.

Fletcher has been charged with child endangerment, evading arrest, possession of a weapon and driving on a suspended license. Nichols is charged with child endangerment, tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana. The Department of Children’s Services was called to investigate the matter.

Duane Sherrill may be reached at

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