A woman in South Daytona, Florida is in hot water after leaving her 5-year-old son in the car while she went shopping at a local Dollar General. After she was arrested, she told police that the squad car transporting her to booking was too hot and asked them to turn up the air conditioning.
The incident began when police were summoned to a Dollar General store in the South Daytona area on Friday, June 30, 2017. Concerned shoppers informed the police that there was a child that had been left in a vehicle. When police arrived, they found the 5-year-old sitting in a locked Hyundai in the back seat. The front driver’s side window was rolled down and the rear driver’s side window was slightly open. Both passenger windows were rolled up.
According to the police department, the car was parked in direct sunlight without any shade. The young boy was visibly upset and sweating profusely. The South Daytona Fire Department also responded. When they measured the temperature inside the car, it registered at 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius).
The bystander who called 911 spoke to an Orlando news station, WESH, and said that the boy was screaming and holding on to the steering wheel.
The mother, Colleen Walker, attempted to defend her actions to the responding officers and fire department. A police dashcam captured her interaction with them. According to her, her son was only in the car for maybe 12 minutes, and that was only because her son had wanted to stay in the car while she shopped.
A firefighter can be heard saying, “Don’t get all huffy and puffy because I’m not going to feel bad for you. I don’t care.”
According to the passer-by who called 911, the boy was in the car for roughly 20 minutes and had been crying and screaming. Surveillance video showed that Walker had been in the store for nearly a half hour with her 3-year-old daughter.
Walker was arrested and transported to the local jail for booking and processing. While she was in transit, Walker told officers that it was too hot in the back of the squad car and they needed to turn up the air conditioning. According to Lt. Dan Dietrich of the South Daytona Police Department, “She [Colleen Walker] was complaining that the backseat of our patrol car was too hot on her way to the jail, and asked the officer to turn the AC up.”
Both children were checked and then released to their father’s custody.
Walker was charged with child neglect and jailed in lieu of a $5,000 bond. She posted bond on Friday, July 7, 2017, and when asked about the situation, only had this to say.
“People need to mind their own f***ing business. That’s my side of the story.”
She faces up to five years in prison if she is convicted.
[Featured Image by South Daytona Police Department]