Nelson County Sheriff says mom found passed out at wheel with young kids in car, drugs packaged for sale

Nelson County Sheriff Kurt Schwind said they found marijuana, cocaine and meth. He also said three children were also in the car and appeared to be severely neglected.

Sharmaine Williams
Sharmaine Williams booking photo
Lake Region Law Enforcement

PETERSBURG, N.D. — Three young children are safe and the Nelson County Sheriff said it's amazing they are alive along with their mother.

This after police allege the mother was so high on drugs she passed out at the wheel while driving.

Nelson County Sheriff's Deputies said along with the children in the car they found drugs packaged and ready to be sold.

Sharmaine Williams, 28, remains locked up at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in Devils Lake. She is facing a variety of charges including delivering drugs, driving under the influence of drugs, and child endangerment.

Police say it started in front of the Petersburg post office around 9:30 Tuesday morning when someone said a woman kept moving and stopping her car.


The sheriff said when he got there Williams was clearly passed out from drug use.

"I had to knock on the window several times, I want to say three, four, five times before she finally woke up, very disoriented. She had three children in the vehicle," said Sheriff Kurt Schwind.

According to court documents, the kids were 8, 7, and 2 years old; meaning two of them should have been at school.

All three were sleeping and unbuckled, two of them in the front seat, including the 2-year-old.

"They looked like they'd been ran through the ringer. They looked very tired, looked like they haven't been cleaned up in quite some time," said Schwind.

Police claim Williams told them she was going from her home in the Twin Cities to the Spirit Lake Reservation but has no clue how she ended up in Petersburg, but it is off Highway 2.

She did not say why she was up there, but Schwind said he found nearly a $1,000 worth of marijuana and cocaine and that the marijuana was packaged to be sold.

All of it was accessible to the kids in the car.


"I don't know how far she drove in that condition, but it was amazing that she made it there without having a severe incident on the way," said Schwind.

At the jail police say jailers found several bags of meth, along with nearly a dozen painkiller pills hidden in her body.

Her kids are now with social services.

"There was scabbing around the mouth (...) they all had head lice, and there was just some bruising around stuff around the arms," said Schwind.

Williams was ordered held on $10,000 cash only bail.

She later sent an email to the judge asking her bail be dropped altogether saying she has another daughter at home in Minneapolis who should not be home alone much longer.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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