Couple arrested on drug related charges and child abuse

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KIMBERLY ANN ETHRIDGE
KIMBERLY ANN ETHRIDGE

Last night at approximately 8:30 p.m., Historic City News crime reporters were informed that deputies with the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office had been dispatched to the Burger King located at 2255 SR-207 to issue trespassing warnings to a man and woman who managers say were using illegal drugs in the restaurant’s restroom.

The complainant provided a description of the individuals identified as 39-year-old Kimberly Ann Ethridge and 42-year-old John Nathan Bowman, both of Clymer Road in Elkton, and their vehicle.

Because the restrooms were cleaned immediately prior to Ethridge and Bowman entering, and because no one else had been in or out, witnesses said they could be certain that the contraband material found in the restroom was left by the defendants.

Management added that Ethridge and Bowman were accompanied by a 5-month-old infant and a 2-year-old female child.

The vehicle and occupants were located in the parking lot of the restaurant. When one of the deputies asked Bowman if there were any illegal drugs in his vehicle, he stated he had a single Ativan (brand of Lorazepam) inside his truck. He admitted to officers that neither he nor Ethridge had a prescription for the controlled sedative.

Bowman and Ethridge gave permission to Deputy Michael Coraluzzo and Deputy Austin Reese to search the truck; both had a clear view of the vehicle, and each was free to stop the search at any time.

JOHN NATHAN BOWMAN
JOHN NATHAN BOWMAN

During the search, Coraluzzo located a green backpack; he turned toward the couple and asked who owned the backpack — Bowman turned to Coraluzzo and said “it’s mine”, according to the incident report.

Coraluzzo reported that he continued searching the backpack and discovered a prescription bottle that contained several white flakes which he recognized as crack cocaine.

The backpack also contained a transparent box which held four bottles of liquid methadone, prescribed to both Ethridge and Bowman.

“Continuing the search, a light brown woman’s make-up case was concealed under the lining of the child seat cushion,” Coraluzzo wrote in his account of the incident. “The case contained a purple and white box that contained several white flakes which I recognized to be crack cocaine and a broken glass crack pipe.”

Coraluzzo also observed a container of powdered baby formula on the front passenger seat. When he opened it, he reportedly found a multi-colored flowered make-up case with a small plastic bag containing a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana. It also contained pieces of medication that were identified as Risperidone, an antipsychotic prescribed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability caused by autism, and, Xanax, brand of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression.

Deputy Coraluzzo went back inside the Burger King restroom, and searched the trash can. Inside he found a white, red and yellow striped drinking straw that contained a white powdery residue and wadded-up paper towel that contained a charred substance that had a strong chemical odor.

The suspected drug samples collected were tested by Deputy Lauren Ledoux and witnessed by Deputy Reese. The white substance tested positive for cocaine using a field test kit and the leafy plant tested positive for marijuana. The Xanax tablet was identified by color, shape, markings and other identification using drugs.com for reference. All items were photographed in their original locations and submitted to the St. Johns County Evidence section.

Both defendants were arrested and transported to the St Johns County Jail.

Ethridge was charged with:

• Possession of cocaine (third-degree felony)

• Possession of substance without a prescription (third-degree felony)

• Neglect of a child without great bodily harm (third-degree felony)

• Possession of drug paraphernalia (first-degree misdemeanor)

• Possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams (first-degree misdemeanor)

She was released from jail today at 3:05 p.m. after posting bond in the amount of $9,500.00.

Bowman was charged with:

• Possession of cocaine (third-degree felony)

• Neglect of a child without great bodily harm (third-degree felony)

He was released from jail today at 9:13 p.m. after posting bond in the amount of $6,000.00.

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