Parents from Washington, D.C., face charges after leaving their children in a car in near-freezing temperatures so that they could attend a wine tasting.
On Saturday, a woman walked by the couple’s Volvo, which was parked near a Ritz Carlton Hotel, and noticed the children locked inside. Parents Christopher Lucas, 41, and Jennie Chang, 45, had left their 22-month-old son and 2.5-year-old daughter strapped to their car seats in the vehicle.
According to USA Today, the little girl was crying hysterically and neither of the kids was wearing hats or mitts, despite the temperature of 1 degree C.
The woman who discovered the kids immediately called the police. When the children’s parents returned from their wine tasting at a nearby restaurant, they were arrested and charged with second-degree cruelty. An ambulance also arrived on scene to examine the children, who are now under Child Protective Services.
According to Gwendolyn Crump, a spokeswoman at the Metropolitan Police Department, the children were left alone for about an hour.
On Monday, Lucas and Chang pleaded not guilty to the charges. Lucas told police that he “left to go inside the restaurant, but [he] was watching [the kids].” When he went inside, the children had been asleep.
Lucas and Chang are now required to attend a hearing on February 18. If they are found guilty, they could face a fine of up to $25,000 each and up to 10 years in prison. – ParentDish