A Rock Hill mother was sentenced to probation Monday after pleading guilty to drug charges in two cases, including one in which she was found under the influence of drugs in her car with her daughter in her lap.
Allison Jane Blanton, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of heroin. Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III sentenced Blanton to two years in prison suspended to one year probation. In exchange for the plea, the state dismissed charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of contraband in jail and a charge of unlawful neglect of a child with the right to restore the charge if Blanton does not complete probation.
Blanton was first arrested in February 2015 after sheriff’s deputies found her asleep in the driver’s seat of her car on the shoulder of Interstate 77, Assistant Solicitor Leslie Robinson said during Monday’s hearing. About an hour before the deputies found her, a state trooper stopped to help her.
“She had told Highway Patrol that someone was on their way to give her a ride and would be there in 10 minutes,” Robinson said.
Blanton appeared to be under the influence of drugs, Robinson said. Her daughter, who was around 1 year old at the time, didn’t have proper clothing for the temperatures, which were between 25 and 40 degrees that morning.
The deputy told Blanton to get into his patrol car with her daughter to warm up, Robinson said, but when she took her large purse with her, the officer searched it as a safety measure.
Inside the purse were several syringes, a spoon and several bundles of aluminum foil that contained .15 grams of heroin, Robinson said. Blanton also admitted to recently using heroin.
In October 2015, Blanton was arrested again by Rock Hill police after she and a man were seen using drugs at a hotel on Galleria Boulevard, Robinson said. A hotel manager showed officers damage to the room Blanton and her co-defendant rented, in which police also found multiple syringes in the bathroom.
In Blanton’s purse, police found a package of hypodermic needles matching the kind in the hotel room, Robinson said. They also found meth and .27 grams of heroin in Vaughn’s backpack.
Blanton was originally charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, but Robinson said Blanton “was more of a user in this circumstance” and Vaughn admitted to being more involved with distribution.
Blanton checked herself into a drug treatment center after her October arrest and did “extremely well” during her eight months of treatment, her attorney, Thomas Bowen, said Monday. She is now employed and plans to go back to school and eventually regain custody of her daughter.
“Heroin’s a serious drug,” Bowen said. “My client had a serious addiction. There’s always reasons behind addiction; hers was two very traumatic events that happened to her within a short period of time, and then doctors’ overuse of prescription narcotics.”
Blanton said little during the hearing.
“I just want to thank everybody for sticking by me and helping me on this journey,” she said.
Robinson said after the hearing that Blanton entering treatment herself was one of the main reasons behind the recommendation of probation.
“Heroin addiction is one of the very tough addictions to beat,” she said. “... She did take the initiative to go into an inpatient drug treatment program that, I think, is reflective of her desire to make a turn-around in her life.”