Woman who overdoses while nine months pregnant facing charges

An Altoona woman who overdosed while 9 months pregnant is behind bars on charges that include aggravated assault of an unborn child.

Miranda Jo Weakland, 29, of 4040 Fourth Ave., was unresponsive in a vehicle behind her home when Altoona police and AMED personnel were called July 11 at 5:36 p.m., according to police. She was 38 weeks along in her pregnancy, police said, and after Weakland was taken to UPMC Altoona, her child was delivered by emergency cesarean section but suffered a seizure and was unable to breathe on his own, court records reveal.

Police said the child was flown by helicopter to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit in Johnstown for treatment and observation and an umbilical blood sample allegedly came back positive for two types of Benzodiazepine drugs – Temezepam and Diazapam, both commonly used to treat severe insomnia and anxiety.

Weakland was not prescribed either drug, police said. The test also showed Suboxone, a drug Weakland was prescribed.

A half-hour before police were called to the Weakland home, Altoona police were called to Sheetz at 17th Street and Seventh Avenue for the report of a pregnant and intoxicated woman suspected of shoplifting, Weakland’s arrest papers indicate.

Police noted in the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, surveillance from the store shows Weakland “walking unsteadily throughout the store, nodding off at the counter while attempting to pay for items.”

Weakland was driven to the store by a friend, police said, and when they returned to the alley behind her home she was slumped over the console and unresponsive.

Police added that Weakland’s husband, Joe Weakland Jr., handed police a pill bottle containing 22 unknown pills when they arrived at the scene.

On July 12, Miranda Weakland allegedly signed a consent to release medical records to Altoona police investigators, but on July 15 she changed her mind, police noted. A search warrant for the medical records was sought and granted, records show.

Weakland remains in Blair County Prison in lieu of $15,000 cash bail after her arraignment Thursday on one count of felony aggravated assault of an unborn child and one count each of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person.

A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court before Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly.