State Not Filing Charges Against Dad in Lake City Hot Car Death

Prosecutors have decided not to file any charges in the May 13 death of a 16-month-old girl who was found unresponsive after spending most of the day locked in her father’s car.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported that the father forgot to take the child to daycare Tuesday morning and left his daughter in the hot car all day.

The girl was found not breathing around 3:15 p.m. on May 13 when he got home and a family member inside asked him where the girl was. He realized then that she was still inside the car and ran to get her. He performed CPR on the girl, but when paramedics arrived, the girl was dead.

The man was not under the influence of alcohol. Police and prosecutors found that the man did not intentionally leave the child in the car.

“We decided that it’s not something we’re going to prosecute because there was no egregious behavior on his part, and to be honest with you, it’s going to be hard to punish him more then he’s being punished right now,” said Assistant State Attorney Sean Brewer of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, based in Gainesville.

According to research conducted by the Department of Earth & Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, at least fifteen hot car-related child deaths occurred in 2014. The Department documented 44 deaths of children in hot vehicles in 2013 and have logged 621 cases since 1998. The research the Department has collected shows that in half of hot vehicle death cases, children were forgotten by their parent or caregiver. Less than a third of cases were the result of children playing in an unattended car, and less than a fifth of cases were the result of adults intentionally leaving children locked inside sweltering vehicles. Research also shows that criminal charges are only brought against responsible parties in about half of all death cases.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed as a result of someone else’s negligent or intentional conduct in the state of Florida, please call a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today at 866-608-5529. Even if you just have questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact us online or by phone for a free consultation.

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