A Corbin man has been charged with endangering three mentally disabled adults he left alone in an SUV while he allegedly bought drugs, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
Dustin Howard Brice, 19, was charged with three counts of second-degree wanton endangerment, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a news release from Root's office.
Sgt. Greg Poynter stopped a Ford SUV on U.S. 25 south of London at 8:37 p.m. Wednesday because the driver, Brice, allegedly was operating the vehicle in a careless manner.
Poynter determined that Brice was impaired and arrested him, then found he had a bag of marijuana, according to a news release.
Brice worked for Independent Opportunities, a company that provides support to mentally challenged and disabled people.
He had three disabled adult men with him when Poynter pulled him over.
The three men live in the London area at what is called a staffed residence — a house where Independent Opportunities employees stay with them to assist them, said Wayne Harvey, chief operating officer of the company.
Police said they believe Brice, who was staying with the men Wednesday, took them with him when he went to buy marijuana.
Brice went to the home of a suspected drug dealer and left the three men unattended in the SUV for at least 10 minutes while he was inside, according to the release from Root's office.
Police know Brice was at the residence because officers investigating concerns of drug trafficking saw him leave the house, said sheriff's Detective Billy Madden.
Police stopped him after he left the house.
Police called Independent Opportunities, and a supervisor came to get the three men.
The supervisor also fired Brice on the spot, Madden said.
Harvey said Brice had not been an Independent Opportunities employee for long.
The company does random drug tests on employees and also requires them to take a test if a problem is suspected, but there had been no reason to suspect Brice, Harvey said.
"We hate the decision that the young man made" to endanger the vulnerable adults, Harvey said.