Baby was in back seat when Indiana mom overdosed on heroin

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HOPE, Ind. (WTHR) - The image itself is startling. The picture, released by the Hope Police Department, shows near lifeless woman in the driver's seat. The woman was parked outside a Hope, Indiana Dollar General on Saturday afternoon.

"For the officers, whenever they arrived on scene," explained Hope Police Chief Matt Tallent, "and she's passed out with the needle still in her hand, that says a lot."

And she wasn't alone. 25-year-old Erika Hurt's Facebook page shows numerous smiling photos with her ten-month-old son.

But on Saturday it wasn't a happy picture, while she lay in the front, her boy was strapped into his car seat in the back.

"It's shocking," said Tallent, "when you look at something like that you see your own children. Or, the officer that was here has grandchildren that age, and he said, 'the first thing I thought of was what if that was my grandchild in that car.'"

After she was revived, Hurt was arrested, charged with child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"When you have a child, your priorities change. I just can't imagine wanting to do it with my child in the room no matter how desperate I was but then, I haven't been in that position, so it's hard to say," said Carmel Henderson, who lives in nearby Columbus, Indiana.

What some call a heroin epidemic doesn't discriminate and affects people in communities big and small.

Erika Hurt

Bartholomew County has detailed a detective to a federal DEA task force to help combat the flow of drugs that have led to 22 overdoses in the county in the past year--two of them fatal.

"They need to get off of it, they need to seek the treatment so that they can be productive citizens, and not just be locked away in jail, you might say. Because it is a problem, and it's a medical problem," said Bartholomew County Sheriff’s major Chris Lane.

A problem that nearly claimed the life of this young mother.

"It takes one person to step up and be a hero. One person to step up and make a difference in somebody's life," said Shannon Wilson of Columbus.