GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Authorities say a mother went on a crack binge the day before her premature baby was born and cut the umbilical cord with her teeth in a motel room bathroom after giving birth.

The Ocala Star Banner reports that 37-year-old Chyrstal A. Hassell gave birth to her son in a bathtub at the Vacation Host Inn last Friday. The baby is in critical condition at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.

Hassell is on suicide watch at the Marion County Jail currently.

The Star Banner reports that Hassell was using drugs while pregnant with her son before finding out in March she was six to seven months pregnant. Hassell told Marion County authorities she stopped using crack but the day before she gave birth the cravings were just too much to overcome and went on a binge.

Hassell gave birth to her son in a motel room bathtub and ended up cutting the umbilical cord with her teeth. She called 911 after her son began turning blue, according to The Star Banner.

Hassell’s boyfriend and the boy’s father, 43-year-old Vincent Terry, is also at Marion County Jail for a Colorado warrant for domestic violence and attempted murder.

Terry told authorities he did not know Hassell went on a crack binge.

“I knew she had a history of doing drugs, but not that she was doing drugs,” he told The Star Banner. “She just found out she was pregnant.”

Terry says he wants to stay together with Hassell despite what happened.

“Of course we’re going to stay together,” he told The Star Banner. “My kids are here. She’s not a bad person. She just got a problem and, together, we’ll fight it.”

The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of Hassell’s baby and 11-month-old son. She is being charged with child neglect.


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