Washington, D.C., parents left their toddler and baby strapped in their car seats so they could go on a wine tasting. Jennie Chang, 46, and Christophe Lucas, 41, left their one-year-old baby son and two-year-old daughter inside a parked car on Sturdy evening during freezing conditions – without gloves or hats.
The couple went on a wine tasting at an “upscale” Washington, D.C., bar while their children were left locked inside car in a parking lot until a passerby saw the toddler and baby and called the police. Christophe Lucas told the D.C. police that he had left an iPhone in the car to “monitor” the toddler and the baby. Exactly how quickly the parents could have gotten to the children if one succumbed to the extreme cold, choked, or an attempted kidnapping occurred remains unknown.
The Washington, D.C., parents were arrested after police officers located the parents at a bar called Ris, about 400 feet away from the vehicle. Jennie Chang and Christophe Lucas were arrested and charged with two counts of attempted child neglect. When the law enforcement officers arrived at the Volvo, the two-year-old girl was reportedly “crying hysterically,” and the 1-year-old baby was barefooted.
It was 28 degrees outside the night the children were locked in the car so the parents could attend the wine tasting. Jennie Chang was allegedly “keeping an eye” on the car that her children were locked inside of in their car seats. The Ris wine bar manager told the police that the couple had been inside for about one hour before the officers arrived. Police officers confirmed the timeline by noting that the cell phone line had been open for 58 minutes when they arrived on the scene. The children were said to be in good health when checked out by paramedics called to the scene.
Chang and Lucas reportedly live in a $1 million rowhouse near Dupont Circle, about a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. The Washington, D.C., parents spent the rest of their Saturday night and Sunday in jail. Chang and Lucas were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court on Monday afternoon. The judge ordered the couple released on their own recognizance but also mandated that they not have any contact with their children before the next court hearing. The parents are slated to appear in court again on February 18.
The children are currently in the custody of child protection services. If convicted on the attempted child neglect charges, the Washington, D.C., parents could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
What sentence do you think the judge should issue in the case of the Washington D.C. parents leaving their children alone in a locked car in the cold — for an hour?
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