A 29-year-old mother has been charged with child neglect after she left her baby in the car while she drank at Deerfield Beach bar.
According to WPLGLocal 10, the woman was arrested on Monday after an anonymous person reported seeing a baby left alone in a car in the parking lot. Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) deputies were called to Padano Bar & Grill on Hillsboro Boulevard where the woman left the baby, per a probable cause affidavit.
When the deputies reached the location at about 1:15 a.m., they found the child alone in the back of a black Hyundai, the report detailed.
According to the affidavit, “the car was off and all the windows were rolled up.”
The mother of the baby — identified as Jennifer Potts — told the deputies that she left the baby in the car only for a “couple of seconds” and went inside the bar to get her phone and driver’s license, per Local 10 News.
The deputies, however, said in the affidavit that Potts smelled of alcohol and later confessed that she had been drinking an “unknown amount of booze.” They also said that they searched the car parking area for about 17 minutes before Potts showed up.
The child was taken for a checkup at a local hospital but was declared unharmed. Consequently, Potts was charged with child neglect without great bodily harm.
Per a news report by NBC 6, BSO spokesperson Gina Carter said that the deputies didn’t believe that the woman left the baby in the car for a few seconds and that the accused put her child’s life in danger.
“This child wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t resting, he was screaming, scared and alone. We know her comment about being gone a few seconds isn’t accurate and it’s dangerous to leave a child alone.”
Potts was granted bond on Monday and was ordered by authorities to stay away from her child for the time being. Per WPLG Local10, Potts’ attorney said that it would be very harsh to separate the mother from her child.
“I think it would be an extremely undue hardship on Miss Potts if she did not have some kind of contact with her son.”
The report further said that Potts’ father appeared in the court during his daughter’s hearing and said that Jennifer was out with her friends and undoubtedly made a “horrible judgment call.” He, however, pleaded with the judge for leniency and said that his daughter’s behavior is “unlike anything that she has done in the past.”