WHITWELL, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee woman is facing child neglect charges after deputies found her driving ahead of her young daughters while making them walk to school.
Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said the mother told deputies her daughters were being punished for missing the bus, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (bit.ly/1UHXZH6).
Lisa Marie Palmer, 32, is scheduled for an initial court appearance April 18 on charges of child neglect and driving without a license.
No phone number was listed on a deputy's report to reach Palmer for comment, and court officials said she doesn't have an attorney yet.
In his report, Marion County sheriff's Deputy Chris Ladd said he and another deputy spotted the two girls with a dog "walking the fog line" and a gold Cadillac parked on the shoulder, engine running.
Both girls are under age 10, Ladd said Saturday, but he didn't have their exact ages.
Ladd said in his report that Palmer and the children were about 50 yards apart with Palmer in the car ahead of them.
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," Ladd's report said.
Ladd estimated the girls had walked about a mile and a half and had about two more miles to go.
"Temperatures were cold, and traffic was beginning to become heavy with citizens heading to work," Ladd said. "Mrs. Palmer was in no position to reach her children safely in the event of an emergency."
At that point, Ladd cited Palmer for child neglect and began trying to arrange for the girls to get the rest of the way to school. Palmer didn't have a valid driver's license and couldn't be allowed to drive the girls on to school.
The charges stem from an investigation launched March 1 after Ladd and the other deputy responded to the situation. Burnett said the case also is being investigated by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.