By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — One of three children found in the trunk of their mother’s car during a September traffic stop has told authorities they were placed there because the adults were worried the kids would damage a snowboard and guitar in the back seat.
Another child said it was not the first time they ended up in the trunk.
The children’s mother, Anna Boyle of Woodinville, pleaded not guilty in Snohomish County Superior Court on Monday to unlawful imprisonment and possessing heroin and methamphetamine. Aaron J. Johnson, 27, a passenger in the car, entered a not guilty plea to unlawful imprisonment.
The couple were arrested on the morning of Sept. 23 after they allegedly were caught speeding down I-405 with the woman’s three children and a small dog locked in the trunk of her 2007 Nissan Sentra.
Boyle, 28, was pulled over in the Canyon Park area of Bothell. She was clocked at 77 mph; the speed limit there is 60.
Boyle didn’t say anything to the Washington State Patrol trooper about the children until about 30 minutes into the roadside stop, prosecutors said. That’s when the trooper heard thumping coming from the trunk and asked about the noise.
He initially thought it was the sound of a bass from a radio and that the stereo system speakers might be in the trunk. Another trooper opened the trunk and found the children and a dog.
The car reeked of marijuana, court papers said.
Boyle allegedly acknowledged that she smoked “two hits earlier.”
The trooper said she appeared nervous when she was stopped. She stuttered her words and fumbled for paperwork, court papers said.
The trooper noticed Boyle’s lips appeared slightly burnt and her fingertips were black. He found empty zip-lock bags covered with heroin residue and pipes used to smoke heroin under the front passenger seat, court papers said.
Boyle allegedly told the trooper that her children crawled into the trunk while she was driving.
Troopers didn’t believe that account, court papers said.
“There were too many items in the back seat, and there was no room for the kids,” court papers said.
Boyle allegedly explained, “We are moving. I have a booster seat for one of the kids at home and I forgot to put it in.”
The children told troopers that they were hungry and hadn’t eaten since the night before.
A girl, 8, told a social worker that they climbed into the trunk from the interior of the vehicle. She later heard items being placed in the car.
She said Johnson told them to be quiet when the car was pulled over by troopers.
“However, she said that it started to get hot in the trunk so they started to yell and make noise,” court papers said.
The girl said Johnson told them not to say anything because he did not want them taken away. She said she was scared to be in the trunk.
A boy, 5, said they were told, “Don’t go in the back seat, you will break the snowboard and guitar.” He told social workers they had been placed in the trunk at least twice before.
A State Patrol sergeant examined the vehicle Oct. 4. He determined that anyone in the trunk could not gain access to the back seat and the only means of escaping was an emergency latch near the upper left of the trunk lid.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.