In a bizarre story, a woman was arrested for driving kids around, not in booster seats or in the back seats, but in two pet kennels placed in the back of her car. A bystander happened to capture the moment on video when the woman was letting a girl out of one of the pet kennels. The video went viral, and eventually led to the arrest of 62-year-old Leimome Cheeks, reported the Commercial Appeal.
“There was no room inside the vehicle earlier in the day… [so I] told them to get inside the kennel,” she replied when Cheeks was asked why she placed the kids in the kennels.
Police added to Cheek’s account of what happened.
“Leimome Cheeks was interviewed and admitted to riding from Whitehaven to Collierville with the children in the kennel. Cheeks further advised they also drove downtown, however she checked on the children periodically and later removed them from the kennel and put them in the rear seats of her vehicle.”
The distance between Collierville and Whitehaven is approximately 27.7 miles, which takes about 34 minutes to drive. However, if Cheeks was indeed driving “downtown,” it’s hard to know exactly how long the kids were in the kennel. Moreover, nobody knows for certain yet whether this was the first time that Cheeks ever asked the kids to stay inside the pet kennels during drives.
Strangely enough, there is little information available on the relations between Cheeks and the children, aged 7 and 8-years-old. Some report that the woman is the grandmother, while many reports exclude the information. The kids reportedly told officials that it was hot in the back of the car, according to Fox 13. And indeed, it was around 95 degrees on the day that the children were seen in the pet kennels.
Cheeks is being charged with child endangerment, while police and Child Services continue their investigations. The woman is being held at the Shelby County Jail.
The issues of child abuse and endangerment have been at the forefront of the public awareness ever since 13 children were discovered shackled and held captive in a Perris, California, home last January. The kids in this instance were found badly malnourished and appeared to be much younger than their actual age. NPR detailed that all the kids required medical care, while the parents were arrested and taken into custody.
It’s too early to know the details of the circumstances surrounding Cheeks and the children that were seen in the pet kennels, however further information is expected to be released by authorities soon.