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Man suspected of letting child eat meth arrested on I-5

A Washington man is jailed in Jackson County on drug and child-neglect charges after he reportedly allowed his 6-year-old daughter to eat a crystal of methamphetamine.

Several callers reported a man acting suspiciously around 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Burger King at 459 S. Valley View Road, Ashland, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said in a news release today. A deputy went to check it out, but the man already had headed north on Interstate 5 in a silver, 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Washington plates.

A deputy found the vehicle speeding near Rogue River and stopped Elijah Benbow, 28, of Seattle, Wash., at I-5's exit 48. Benbow was reportedly shaking badly, fidgeting, and could not stop moving, leading the deputy to suspect he was under the influence of drugs. Benbow's 6-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat.

The deputy asked Benbow to step out of the vehicle so they could talk away from the child, officials said. Benbow denied any use of intoxicants. He told the deputy his daughter had taken some money and hid it from him, so that's why he was acting strangely in the Burger King parking lot.

The deputy then got permission to talk to the girl. She told the deputy she ate something from a small container that looked like a "rock" and was "sort of gray" in color, the news release said. After speaking with the daughter, the deputy put Benbow in handcuffs and advised him of his Miranda rights.

The deputy asked to search the vehicle and was given permission, the news release said. During the search, 5.37 grams of methamphetamine was found. The daughter identified the methamphetamine found in a baggy as the same substance she had eaten. The deputy immediately called for medical assistance to help the child.

She was taken to an area hospital for treatment, but has since been released and placed in foster care.

Benbow failed field sobriety tests and was taken to the Jackson County Jail. He was lodged on charges of first-degree child neglect, possession and delivery of meth, driving under the influence, and reckless endangering. His bail is set at $38,000.