A mother was arrested after an officer found her three children alone in a dilapidated bus in Gulfport early Saturday morning.
Officer Christopher Priest was on a routine patrol at 4:42 a.m. when he spotted a small school bus parked in a beach parking lot. He looked inside and found three children, ages 3, 6 and 9.
The children told Priest that their mother, 33-year-old Andrea L. Kerins, had left late the previous evening on a boat and that they had no means of reaching her, authorities said.
After canvassing dozens of boats docked nearby, Gulfport marine patrol found Kerins aboard a vessel owned by 46-year-old Yuri Radzibabam. Members of the patrol reported that Kerins had been smoking marijuana.
The three children were left on their own in a ramshackle miniature school bus. Inside, officers found an unrefrigerated bin of perishable food, a five-gallon bucket doubling as a toilet and a propane tank. Police say the children had no spare clothing.
Kerins, who was booked into Pinellas County jail as Andrea L. Boyd, was charged with three counts of felony child neglect. The Florida Department of Children and Families has custody of the children.