VIncent S. Cole
KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man has been arrested after his young children were allegedly found wandering their neighborhood unattended: one with no shirt, another nearly hit by a car, and all three telling neighbors they were hungry.
Vincent S. Cole, 43, of 1638 Vance St., is charged with three counts of child abuse and neglect. According to an affidavit filed in Kingsport General Sessions Court, a neighbor called police to Vance Street at approximately 3:45 Friday afternoon.
The three boys, who are identified by police as 1, 3 and 5 years old, reportedly went to the man's house and said their father was "passed out on the couch." That neighbor took the children to another nearby home, where the boys allegedly told the resident that they were hungry.
The second neighbor told police that she had observed one of the children "in the middle of the street" and that he was "almost hit by a vehicle." Another child, according to that witness, was not wearing a shirt, so she placed a blanket around him to keep him warm.
Witnesses reportedly went to Cole's residence, peered through the door and observed him "passed out." Court records say the witnesses beat on the door to wake him but were unsuccessful, prompting the call to police.
An officer responded to Cole's home and was walking to the door when the mother of the children arrived. She said she had been at the hospital for an injury. Police say that "after several minutes" they were "able to wake the father."
Cole reportedly had an odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and "trouble standing." He was arrested and charged with three counts of child abuse and neglect.
Police made a referral to the Department of Children's Services regarding the incident.