MORGAN HILL -- A child-care worker was arrested about 7 a.m. Monday on suspicion of child endangerment after parents dropping off their kids discovered her displaying signs of intoxication, police said.
Morgan Hill police Sgt. Carson Thomas said Anna Marie Lopez, 58, was "unresponsive" when parents talked to her and "fumbling with the keys trying to get into the building."
"Parents were suspicious that she was highly medicated or intoxicated and called the police," Thomas said.
The Morgan Hill resident was arrested at the P.A. Walsh Child Development Center, which is adjacent to the elementary school of the same name in the 300 block of Main Avenue. Police said Lopez had worked at the center for 10 years.
"Based on officer's training and experience, it was recognized that Lopez was displaying signs of inebriation and couldn't take care of herself," Thomas said.
He said she was the first employee to arrive at the site and would have directly supervised arriving children until other workers arrived more than an hour later.
"We charged her with felony child endangerment based on the fact that she was the first person there and was alone," Thomas said. "The children would have been under her sphere of influence."
Thomas said investigators are looking into whether there may have been other such incidents during Lopez's tenure at the center.
Employees at the center referred inquiries to their San Jose corporate office, which could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
In September, a former preschool teacher at another Morgan Hill facility was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading no contest to five misdemeanor charges of attempted child endangerment stemming from an incident in May in which she slipped crushed-up sleeping pills into the sippy cups of kids in her care.
Anyone with information regarding Lopez's case is asked to call Morgan Hill Detective Joseph Burdick at 408-779-2101 or the anonymous tip line at 408-947-7867.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.