HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A reported tag light violation led to multiple charges from the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office after a deputy reportedly found drug paraphernalia in a diaper bag along with a 1-year-old daughter in the passenger seat “playing with a torn open bag of screws and washes.”
Steven Douglas Merrill faces the following charges: child abuse or neglect, driving on a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, financial responsibility, display of registration and unlawful removal of registration.
The charges followed after Deputy Dustin Winter pulled over a 1998 Nissan Frontier truck Sunday at 10:33 p.m. for a tag light violation. In an arrest report penned by Winter, Merrill allegedly admitted that he did not have insurance and that his license was suspended.
When Winter ran the tags on the vehicle, it reportedly came back as a Ford instead of a Nissan. Winter requested to search the truck, to which Merrill consented, the report states.
“Under the driver seat I found a case that contained 4 used syringes,” the arrest report by Winter states. “I continued to search the vehicle and inside a diaper bag I found an open bag of syringes. On the passenger side of the vehicle under the car sear I found a baggy with methamphetamine residue.”
In the passenger seat, Winter reported finding Merrill’s 1-year-old daughter playing with an open bag of loose hardware.
Winter confirmed Merrill’s license had been suspended because he reportedly hadn’t submitted fines by July 14. Multiple charges followed this confirmation, and the Department of Children’s Services was contacted.
No further information, including Merrill’s bond, was released.