Crime

Mom Arrested After Leaving Boy Locked In Hot Car (Photo)

| by Alex Scarr
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A Florida woman was arrested after she left her 5-year-old son locked in a vehicle as she shopped at a dollar store.

Colleen Walker, 30, left her young son inside the family car and proceeded to walk into the South Daytona Dollar General store, according to WSB-TV. Walker left the driver's side window rolled down, but the passenger side windows on both the front and back of the car were closed. The driver's side window in the rear of the vehicle was open slightly.

A witness called police after seeing the boy in the car, who police say was "sweating profusely" when they arrived at the scene.

"He was hanging onto the steering wheel and just screaming. It broke my heart," the witness told WATE.

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Firefighters and police took the temperature of the inside of the vehicle, which was parked in direct sunlight without any cover or shade, and found it to be 107 degrees.

Upon returning from the store, Walker was approached by authorities who had arrived to help the boy locked in her vehicle. Walker was reportedly upset with authorities, saying she was in the store for only a short amount of time and it should not be an issue.

"He wasn’t in the car for two hours, it was like, 12 minutes,” Walker told police. She also said her son wanted to stay in the car while she shopped rather than joining her inside.

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The store manager said Walker was walking around the store and shopping for roughly 30 minutes. Surveillance video from the store confirmed Walker was inside shopping for 28 minutes.

"We get cases and cases where, 10, 15 minutes the kid is dead,” a firefighter at the scene explained.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles found that every 10 days a child dies from being left in a vehicle that is too hot. A car rapidly warms in the first 30 minutes in the sun, and children are less capable of cooling themselves down than adults. Even with the windows rolled down, that does not ensure enough air is circulating through the car.

When Walker was arrested by police, she complained to her arresting officers that the back of the squad car was "too hot," according to Lt. Dan Dietrich. She asked the officers to turn up the air conditioning in the vehicle as they drove to the local police station.

Walker faces child neglect charges and was jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail. Her children are in their father's custody.

Sources: WSB-TV, WATE, Children's Hospital Los Angeles / Photo credit: Kim Siever/Flickr, South Daytona Police via WATE, WFLA

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