Couple faces charges in Hazlehurst after children left in car - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Couple faces charges in Hazlehurst after children left in car

John Tyler Newhart (Source: JDSO) John Tyler Newhart (Source: JDSO)
Rikki Lynne Allagood (Source: JDSO) Rikki Lynne Allagood (Source: JDSO)

A couple faces misdemeanor charges after police said they left children in a closed car in the heat while they shopped for groceries.

John Tyler Newhart and Rikki Lynne Allagood remain free on bond after they were charged with reckless conduct.

Employees of the Hazlehurst Piggly Wiggly spotted a three month old, a two year old, and a 16 year old in a closed car around 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The employees called police.

"When we got to the mom inside, she immediately told us that she'd told her boyfriend that they shouldn't leave them in the car," explained Hazlehurst Deputy Police Chief Geoffrey Parker.

Parker said the doors were closed, the windows were slightly cracked and the children were sweating. Store employees like Stephanie Davis were livid.

"She came outside and asked if all this was because the children were in the car," said Davis, a mother of three. "As soon as I saw her I wanted to pop her in the mouth!"

The temperature at the time was 92 degrees, the same as Wednesday. A thermometer placed in a similar car climbed to 118 degrees in a half hour. Store employees estimate the three were in the car at least 25 minutes.

According to Chief Land, the children were released back to the parents after they obtained bond and met with DFACS workers to discuss supervision.

Land tells WTOC he plans to ask the state court solicitor to seek a maximum sentence for the charges - 30 days in jail and 12 months probation.

"We've got to send a message," Land said. "We are sworn to protect the public. Sometimes we have to protect them from themselves."

Information from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety:

·        In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
·        Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.
·        With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
·        A child's body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult's.
·        Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside!
·        A child dies when his/her temperature reaches 107.
·        The heat-related death of a child
·        Misdemeanor with fines as high as $500 — and even imprisonment — in some states
·        Felony, depending on the state, if bodily harm results from leaving kids alone in a hot car
·        Note: The age of children who can be left unattended in a vehicle varies from state to state, as does the duration of time a child can be left alone in a car.
Prevention Tips to Avoid a Tragic Heatstroke
·        Never leave a child alone in a car.
·        Don't let your kids play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
·        Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
·        Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it's empty. Move the teddy bear to the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a visual reminder.
·        If you are dropping your children off at childcare, but normally your spouse or partner drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure they were not left in the car.
·        Become vigilant about looking in the vehicle before locking the door. Always look front and back before walking away — always!

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