Police: Tennessee Mom Left Kids In Car So She Could Get Drunk In Bar

A Tennessee mom has been arrested, after authorities in Lebanon say that she locked her three children in a car for an extended period of time. WKRN News reports that the 31-year-old mom ignored her children’s safety, and the law, when she chose to get drunk while her kids were locked in a vehicle.

Police were called to Jimmy’s Bar and Grill by a good Samaritan, who doesn’t want to be named, when he noticed three young children locked in a vehicle outside the establishment. The children, ranging from the ages of 10-months-old and five-years-old, were not in any distress, but the witness had seen the Tennessee mom inside the bar drinking.

When authorities arrived at the scene, they saw 31-year-old Maria Cavalier on the phone, outside of the bar. They say that she was intoxicated, with slurred speech and watery eyes. She was allegedly “unsteady on her feet,” at the time of the incident as well. Police also say that Cavalier admitted to leaving her three children in her car so that she could drink inside of the bar. She admitted to having two shots in Jimmy’s Bar and Grill while the kids were in the car.

The man who called the police on the Tennessee mom talked to reporters, stating his concern for the kids that were present.

“She went out and looked at them. I was leaving, and she was checking on them, and then she went back in. It is wrong. You don’t leave a six-year-old in a dark area in a bar parking lot. I saw a six-year-old in the front seat. An officer told me that someone would have been killed. Either a pedestrian, or someone in another car, or them.”

This is far from the only time a parent has been arrested for leaving children locked in a vehicle, and sadly, many children do not come out of these incidents unharmed. On average, a reported 37 children per year die while trapped in vehicles, according to Kids and Cars. While many times children are accidentally left in cars by their parents, there are some cases that arise from negligence and even abusive intent.

This is also far from the only time a parent has been accused of locking their children in a vehicle in order to enjoy some alone time. Earlier this year a Pennsylvania mom was arrested for locking her children in a car so that she could work out in a gym. Police say that the woman admitted to locking her 11-year-old son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, and her five-month-old daughter, in her car during these incidents.

Also this year, and also in Tennessee, a woman was arrested when police discovered that she had left her two children in a car — so that she could drink inside a local bar. Nashville cops say that 32-year-old Angelina Buchanan left the two young kids in her vehicle while she drank enough in the West End bar to become intoxicated. She was also allegedly non-cooperative with authorities when she was questioned at the time of the incident.

As for this latest case out of Lebanon, Maria Cavalier has been charged with both child neglect and child abuse. She was also charged with public intoxication. The three kids, who were unharmed, were placed in to the custody of their father. Meanwhile, DCS has become involved in the investigation. While it’s not known what the outcome of this case may be, it’s important to note that the Tennessee mom is no stranger to criminal trouble. In 2005, she was reportedly arrested and charged in association with selling alcohol to a minor.

[Mugshot via Lebanon Police]