A Toms River man, allegedly driving while on narcotics with a woman and her toddler in the car, faces a raft of charges in Stafford Township.

Police car - emergency concept image

Brian K. Howell, 41, was charged April 19 after officers arrived at the McDonald's parking lot on Route 72 West. Police said that an anonymous phone tipster reported a man slumped over the steering wheel of a 2007 Jeep Liberty, with a young girl also in the car.

Determining that Howell was driving under the influence of drugs, or alcohol, or both, officers found him in possession of Scheduke (II) narcotics, authorities said.

According to police, the youngster is less than five years of age. Her mother was not charged, but police contacted the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Police shielded the mother's identity, and referred an inquiry regarding custody of the youngster to the state agency. Police said that the drug allegedly in Howell's possession is still under analysis, declined to speculate on its identity, and did not disclose whether the drug was in plain sight or in reach of the toddler.

Howell is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and with driving while intoxicated, with the enhanced charge of having a juvenile passenger. He was issued a flurry of summonses and released until a court hearing convenes.

Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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