The woman pictured in a car unconscious from an alleged heroin overdose last week in Ohio, with her 4-year-old grandson in the back seat, pleaded guilty Thursday to endangering children, PEOPLE confirms.
Rhonda Pasek, 50, was sentenced to 180 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge and will serve her sentence in the Columbiana County jail, East Liverpool Assistant Law Director Tim McNicol tells PEOPLE.
He says the length of the sentence owes to “the serious nature of the offense. The fact that she was the custodian of the child who was in the car and she put him in a very dangerous situation.”
McNicol says Pasek could request an early release but added, “My opinion is that any reduction in sentence is extremely unlikely.”
On Sept. 8, the city of East Liverpool, Ohio, posted two shocking police photos to Facebook showing Pasek, who previously had custody of the child, and her friend both passed out in the front seat of the car with the boy wide awake behind them.
In a lengthy caption, officials said they posted the photos to “show the other side of this horrible drug.”
Officials wrote they publicized the pictures hoping the child’s “story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
The driver, James Acord, 47, has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor endangering children, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and slowing or stopping in a roadway, authorities told PEOPLE.
According to McNicol, Acord is serving a 360-day sentence in the Columbiana County Jail.
Officials are still testing the substance in the vehicle, which they suspect is heroin, McNicol says. If it is heroin, Acord and Pasek could face felony charges, he says.
PEOPLE has been unable to reach Acord or Pasek for comment, and it is unclear if they retained attorneys.
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The boy pictured in the photos is now living with his great-aunt and great-uncle in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Columbiana County Court Administrator Dane Walton told PEOPLE. On Monday, the couple filed a motion to gain custody of the boy, and the judge granted the request.
Officials’ decision to release photos of the suspected overdose has been met with both positive and negative comments, but local authorities previously told PEOPLE that they “feel fully justified and vindicated in what we did.”
By law, they said, they could not have blurred the child’s face or cropped him out of the photos because they are public records.
However, Pasek’s sister condemned the photos’ release, telling NBC News that the city “humiliated my family and humiliated that little boy.”
“They could have blurred his face and they didn’t. And now they’re taking him away from my sister,” she said. “I’m not condoning what Rhonda did, but what they did to her and what they’re doing to her grandson is too much.”
• With reporting by ADAM CARLSON and CHAR ADAMS