Woman Arrested After Leaving 3-Year-Old in Hot Car in Wesley Chapel

It is that time of year for these horrific stories – stories of people leaving their innocent loved ones in the back seat in a hot car with no way out. A 60-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday, May 21, after leaving a 3-year-old girl in the back seat of a hot car while she went into a Publix in Wesley Chapel to grocery shop. The St. Petersburg Times says the little girl was seen by witnesses standing in the backseat screaming for her father. The outside temperature was about 90 degrees and the windows were up. The female driver had dropped the father off at a gym and went into Publix to use the restroom and then, forgetting the child was in the back, began grocery shopping.

Fortunately, some witnesses noticed the girl and alerted authorities. They likely saved her life. A paramedic retrieved her from the Publix on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and the little girl was let out of the hot car and treated for slight dehydration. The woman, whose relationship to the child is uncertain, was arrested on child neglect charges and released from jail Saturday night.

So far in 2011, there have been three children who have died in hot vehicles from hyperthermia or heat stroke. In 2010 that number was 49. And between 1998 and 2010 only Texas had more cases of child hyperthermia in vehicles (71) than Florida (56). And since 1998 there have been a total of 497 of these preventable tragedies, according to data from San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences. In half of these instances the person said they forgot the child was in the car.

The Jacksonville personal injury lawyers at Farah & Farah law firm recommends you never leave a child unattended in a vehicle under any circumstances. If you happen to see a child in a hot vehicle call 9-1-1 and stay there until help arrives. You always have the option to break the glass if it might save a life.