Police: Fair Haven mom neglected children to get high
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | January 17,2013
Police say a Fair Haven mother left her children to fend for themselves while she huffed from an aerosol can to get high.
Fair Haven Police Chief William Humphries said police arrested Keri Anne Colvin over the weekend and charged her with abandonment / exposure of a baby and cruelty to a child under 10 after a welfare check at Colvin’s River Street home.
“The father of one of her children called and asked us to do a welfare check because something wasn’t right,” the chief said Wednesday. “When a sergeant arrived, the two young children were pulling food out of the refrigerator and the mom was in the bedroom.”
Humphries, who arrived a few minutes later, said he had to force his way into the bedroom where he said he found Colvin huffing from a can of Dust-Off: compressed air sold to clean computer keyboards.
“She had the can in her hand and it was ice cold,” Humphries said, referring to the cooling of the can when used for prolonged periods of time. “She was huffing while we were there,” he said. “When I first got in the room she was blotto. All she could say was ‘It’s OK.’”
Colvin’s two children, both younger than age 5, appeared to be in good health, the chief said. However, he said the children were foraging in the refrigerator for food and had upended a carton of eggs and other containers at the time police arrived.
Humphries said he didn’t know whether the children remained with Colvin, who was issued a citation to appear in Rutland criminal court at a later date.
Karen Shea, a director at the state Department of Children and Families, said Wednesday that the department couldn’t release information about the confidential cases it handles.
However, in general Shea said that in cases of alleged abuse or neglect children are relocated with other family members. If other relations aren’t able to intervene, she said, DCF makes arrangements for safe housing.
The incident involving Colvin, which Humphries said happened Jan. 10, was upsetting to the chief who said he knew the mother since she was in sixth grade.
“She was a good kid,” he said. “I hate to see what’s happening with her.”
And the chief said he’s seen a rapid uptick in the use of inhalants to get high in the area.
The type of aerosol that Colvin was allegedly using is the same type and brand that was allegedly used by Alex Spanos, a Rutland man charged with manslaughter in a crash that killed 17-year-old Rutland High School student Carly Ferro in September. Police say Spanos was huffing from a can of Dust-Off at the time of the crash.
Since that incident, Humphries said police on the western side of the county have dealt with an increasing number of huffing incidents, including a crash without injuries in Fair Haven that police believe was caused by a driver inhaling from an aerosal can.