Another couple have been arrested on charges of child neglect for leaving a 1½-year-old and an 8-month-old in an unlocked car with the engine running.
Bruce Sampson, 20, and Ashley Townsend, 25, both of 6714 S. Jonesville Road, face felony charges of neglect of a dependent, according to officials at the Bartholomew County Jail.
Sampson remained in jail Thursday afternoon on $10,000 bond. Townsend was released after posting bond Thursday morning.
It was the second time this week that a couple were arrested for leaving one or more children unattended in a car. Dustin Baker, 25, and Cierra Baker, 23, both of Nashville, reportedly left a baby in a pickup truck at West Hill Shopping Center.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Lt. Matt Myers, public information officer for the Columbus Police Department. “People have to use some common sense.”
About 2 p.m. Wednesday, Patrolwoman Courtney Plummer drove to a staffing agency in the 2300 block of Central Avenue after someone reported two young children left alone in a running, unlocked car with the windows slightly down, Myers said.
After questioning the couple, the officer let them leave with their children because there wasn’t enough reason to arrest them.
She later interviewed people inside and outside the business and concluded that an arrest warrant was appropriate.
“There was some discrepancy, but it looks like the kids were in there possibly 20 minutes or more,” Myers said. “Everyone agreed the kids should not have been left alone for that amount of time.”
Patrolman Frank Dickman stopped the couple’s car about 7:30 p.m. and arrested them, Myers said. He said their two children were released to family members, and a report was made with Child Protective Services.
Don’t leave kids alone
Dangers of leaving children alone in cars, according to Columbus police:
- If the temperature outside is too hot or too cold, the car can become a death trap, particularly if the windows are up.
- A child of sufficient age could put a running car in gear.
- A child could have a medical issue that requires an adult’s help.
- A stranger could reach into a car that is unlocked or has its windows down and kidnap the child.
- If the car is running, someone might drive away with the child inside.
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