JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When asked about the recent cases of Northeast Florida parents leaving their child locked in a hot car, State Attorney Angela Corey tells WOKV News she thinks parents are distracted.
“They’re so quick to pick up their personal devices and carry on their lives,” Corey says. “And what you have to do is put your darn personal device down.”
An Orange Park mother faces a misdemeanor charge for leaving her 2 year-old boy in a car with the windows down in 90 degree weather. A Yulee mother faces child neglect for leaving her son in the car for four hours while she napped. And a Jacksonville mother also faces child neglect for leaving her daughter in the car while she shopped at the Town Center Costco. All three incidents happened within days of each other.
Corey says some parents in other cases could face child abuse or even child abuse felony murder charges depending on the circumstances.
“I don’t know how a parent leaves a child in a car unless they’re just distracted, or unless they do it on purpose,” she says.
Some parents could even face a serious felony charge of culpable negligence if the case runs somewhere between distracted and forgetting.
“That you’re so negligent, that you did something so stupid as to leave your child in a hot car,” she says.
Corey says parents should know it’s dangerous to leave a child in a hot, cold or “lukewarm” car.
“It’s dangerous to leave your child anywhere,” she says. “So if you have children, you better make them your first priority because law enforcement certainly is going to hold you accountable for it.”