A Tennessee mother is facing a charge of criminal child neglect because, police say, she forced her two little girls to walk over three miles to school — on a brisk morning — while she drove just ahead of them in the warm, cozy confines of her gold Cadillac.
The incident occurred on March 1 in the tiny town of Whitwell, Tenn. (about 25 miles from Chattanooga), according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Two Marion County sheriff’s deputies responded to a tip and found the girls — and a dog — “walking the fog line just south of Ketner Mill Road and a gold Cadillac parked on the shoulder, engine running,” according to a report filed by one of the deputies.
The mother in the gold Cadillac, 32-year-old Lisa Marie Palmer, explained to the deputies that she was making her daughters make the long trek to school that morning because they had missed their school bus.
The children were walking about 150 feet apart, the report stated.
It “appeared as if she was driving ahead of the children and allowing them to walk and catch up to her vehicle and to proceed with that action until the children reached the school,” the report also said.
Based on Palmer’s residence and where the children attend school, the deputy who wrote the report determined that the girls had walked roughly a mile and would need to walk about two-and-a-half more miles to get to school.
The bucolic intersection where the deputies found Palmer and her daughters features two narrow roads, a grove of trees and a house or two.
“Temperatures were cold, and traffic was beginning to become heavy with citizens heading to work,” the police report noted. “Mrs. Palmer was in no position to reach her children safely in the event of an emergency.”
Palmer’s husband eventually arrived at the scene. The plan was for him to transport the girls the rest of the way to school because Palmer was not carrying a driver’s license. However, the husband, Douglas Palmer, got into a scuffle with the deputies and accused one of them of being “the cop that beat me up last time,” according to the Times Free Press.
The deputies also said they found a knife on Douglas Palmer’s person and undisclosed drug paraphernalia in his car. Much cussing ensued, the deputies said, and Douglas Palmer was booked on separate charges.
It’s not clear how or if the kids ended up getting to school that day.
Lisa Marie Palmer is scheduled to be arraigned on April 18 on the child neglect charge. She faces a charge for driving without a license, too.
The low temperature on March 1 in Whitwell was 44 degrees, according to Weather Underground. The high temperature that day was 56 degrees.