A foster parent is facing child neglect charges today after allegedly leaving a child alone in a hot car. Green Bay Police say Andrew Yee of Illinois left the one-year-old in the car while in he was in a restaurant and that's when a good Samaritan called police to get the child out. Tonight NBC26 explains how a new law is designed to save lives in situations like this.
On Sunday afternoon at Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay, police say Andrew Yee left the toddler in the car while he grabbed a bite to eat.
"The recorded air temperature that day was about 68 or 69 degrees," says Capt. Jeremy Muraski of the Green Bay Police Department.
Fortunately someone noticed the child inside and called police. That good Samaritan took the child out of the unlocked van where authorities conducted tests indicating it was nearly 100 degrees inside.
"At about 104-106 degrees our bodies cells will start dying and our organs will start shutting down," says Kimberly Hess the Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Safety in Green Bay.
The van wasn't in shade, but experts say that wouldn't have made much of a difference.
"The inside temperature of a car (can) heat up 19 degrees in the first ten minutes and goes to 29 degrees in the first thirty minutes," adds Hess.
The child was believed to have been inside for about 45 minutes according to authorities. They say Yee told them he came out frequently to check on the well being of the child.
"A lot of times people say I’m just running into the store for 5 to 10 minutes. Well 10 minutes can be too long," adds Capt. Muraski.
Child safety advocates stress it's never okay to leave a child in the car. Already this year 12 children have died nationally from heat stroke after being left in a car. Compare that to last year at this time there were only 5 such deaths.
But while a Wisconsin state law passed just last year protects people trying to break into a car to help save a child or a pet suffering from heat, local police hope you call them before making that call in most cases.
"Just breaking the window is only the first step in that process. We want to get the child medically assessed. We want to look at it if there is any criminal negligence or liability, does somebody need to be charged for child neglect," adds Capt. Muraski.
Police say the child was taken to the hospital for evaluation and is doing okay. Andrew Yee of Illinois faces a misdemeanor for the actions he's accused of and is scheduled to appear in Brown County Court on July 18th.