SMITHTON, Pa. (KDKA) – A Fayette County woman is facing felony charges after police say she left two developmentally disabled men in a car with the keys in the ignition while she played video poker for an hour.
The Smithton borough police chief says it was an alert citizen who let him know of an alleged problem along Peer Street.
“She pointed to a car that had two individuals in it, she told me the two individuals were mentally disabled and the driver of the car that was their caretaker was in a local market playing a video poker machine,” said Smithton police chief Michael R. Natale.
The car still had its keys in the ignition. The individuals, both men, were apparently developmentally challenged. The one man identified his caretaker by the name Samantha.
“I went into the store and sure enough, right in front of the video poker machine was a female. I said, ‘are you Samantha?’ She said ‘yes,'” said Natale.
The suspect was identified as Samantha Kay White of Dawson, Pa. White told the chief she’d been in there a few minutes and had come in to get sandwiches for the men, but she didn’t have any sandwiches and her story didn’t check out.
Chief Natale wanted to confirm that White had — as she had said — only been in the store a few minutes. So he looked at the surveillance video, and that told a completely different story.
“The security cameras confirmed she was in the store for 1 hour and 7 minutes,” said Chief Natale.
Samantha Kay White was charged with felony neglect of a care-dependent person and recklessly endangering another person.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti contacted Jason Coffman, the chairman of Advanced Living Options, the firm that White works for and the two men left in the car are clients of. He declined comment on the matter but did say White was still employed with his firm.
The company did however tell Chief Natale that there was “no circumstance” where the two men were supposed to be alone.
Neither of the two men suffered and will be okay. White faces a preliminary hearing in November.