Adults arrested, infants turned over to DHS after accident


Two adults were arrested and two infants turned over to the Department of Human Services on Tuesday after Arkansas State Troopers investigated a one-vehicle accident in the 10,000 block of Highway 54.

Testifying at a court hearing Thursday morning, Trooper Dustin Thompson said he found Damon Delassus, 36, “passed out” in the driver’s seat of a white pickup truck, and Shanda Stephens, 35, “passed out” in the back seat.

Thompson said state police received a call from a wrecker service in Star City about the accident. When he arrived, Thompson testified, he found that the truck had left the roadway, jumped a culvert and ended up in the mud.

A resident of the house at that location approached Thompson with a 13-month-old male infant who Thompson said was “heavily soiled, had a rash on his face, and a dirty diaper,” and the resident offered to clean the infant up, change his diaper and watch him while troopers investigated the accident.

Thompson said he opened the door and tried to wake up Delassus, then asked him if he had been taking any controlled substances after Delassus regained consciousness. Thompson said he took Delassus into custody after Delassus “became irritated.”

At that time, Trooper Mark Blackerby arrived and tried to talk to Stephens, who also appeared to be intoxicated on a narcotic, Thompson said.

He said troopers then began an inventory search of the truck before a wrecker arrived and found a car seat with a “month-and-a-half” old female infant in the seat, which was covered with T-shirts.

Blackerby said in a probable-cause affidavit that when he talked to Stephens, she said the girl was the only one child in the vehicle because they had left the boy at home with her mother.

Stephens also allegedly said they had “only taken two Xanax bars each.”

Deputy Prosecutor Maxie Kizer said Stephens had no prior convictions or pending charges but Delassus had an active arrest warrant from Georgia, two active failure-to-appear warrants from Star City, and was listed as having been sentenced to the department of correction from Cleveland County.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $25,000 bond for Stephens and a $50,000 bond for Delassus after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge both of them with two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

The infants were turned over to the Department of Human Services.