Over the summer, in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Dunkin’ Donuts employees called police after noticing something extremely alarming that would put any normal person on alert. What the parents were doing certainly makes them runners up for Worst Parents of the Year.
What seemed like an every day occurrence — a family of four at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, ready to place an order — quickly became a very disturbing memory for the employees who witnessed what the parents were doing. The employees noticed “Tiffany Tinkham with a needle sticking out of her arm” and Lance Hillier “passed out at the wheel of the car.”
The employees had to yell at Hillier to wake up. Upon waking up, the family placed their order and then upon receiving it, the family drove away.
The Dunkin’ Donuts employees were able to write down the license plate number and immediately called police once the family had left.
The police quickly responded, finding the family driving on the highway.
The officer, Nicole Bevilaqua, noticed soon after she put on her lights to pull them over that the couple switched seats before they even stopped the car. Hillier later told the officer that they switched seats because he did not have a license.
Once stopped, Bevilaqua had the couple get out of the car. Bevilaqua subsequently searched Tinkham and discovered that she possessed the prescription drug Suboxone in a plastic bag and less than an ounce of marijuana.
In interviewing the children, Bevilaqua found that they witnessed their mother using needles “all the time.” One of the children explained,
“Mommy…tells us to close our eyes or look out the window when she uses them, but I never do. Daddy has to drive all the time because Mommy is sick.“
Bevilaqua arrested Tinkham and Hillier, charging each with,
“reckless endangerment of a child under 18, operating under the influence of drugs, and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.“
Tinkham received additional charges for possession.
The employees who called police may say that their actions are what any normal, caring individuals would do. Though it may be something that anyone would do, their actions deserve praise. What they did was rescue these children from very reckless parents.
These children will be forever traumatized — they will always remember that their mother told them to look the other way; they will always remember the needles in her arm. The children will also remember the day the police arrested their parents and how they were placed with other family members — a day in which they will hopefully be grateful for. The kids will be traumatized, but hopefully they are now in a safer environment than the one their parents were providing them with.
These parents are certainly among the Worst Parents of the Year. Are there any parents who you think should be in the running for this title?