WATCH: Dramatic video shows pedestrians trying to save toddler trapped in hot car
TORONTO – Dramatic cellphone video out of Kansas shows a group of pedestrians desperately trying to break a car window as it sat in a mall parking lot this past Saturday.
The reason? A toddler had been left inside the locked vehicle by her guardians, as temperatures soared above 43 C.
“The windows were totally rolled up, all the doors were locked. She was covered in sweat,” Sarah Oropeza, the manager at Famous Footwear in Merriam, Kansas told KCTV 5 News.
“When I looked in the back window, she was covered in sweat. She had pulled her hair back and sweat was just dripping.”
The incident took place around 4:15 p.m. Saturday when one of Oropeza’s employees came running into the store, shouting that a child had been left inside a locked car.
What followed was a frantic race against time to retrieve the trapped toddler. While the employee searched her trunk for something to break the window, Oropeza says she called 911 and desperately tried to flag down help.
“I’m screaming, ‘There is a baby in the car! There is a baby in the car! Somebody help!’” Oropeza said.
According to Oropeza, a series of implements were used to try and break the window, including a folding chair and a screw driver, before she began slamming the glass with a tire iron.
That’s when Kristy Scales, another shopper at the Merriam, Kansas shopping centre, told ABC News she began recording her dramatic cell phone video.
Eventually, they were able to break through the window with the tire iron and a truck hitch. And while the entire ordeal only lasted three minutes, Oropeza says it felt much longer.
“She was crying, and she was drenched in sweat, like her shoes were wet, her socks were wet. She was so drenched in sweat. I just started crying,” Oropeza said.
Eventually the couple returned to the car, claiming the girl inside was their niece and they had only been inside the store for four minutes.
They were issued a ticket for child endangerment, though according to a press release from the Merriam Police Department, the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office is determining whether stronger charges are merited.
“Officers of the Merriam Police Department were called to the 5800 block of Antioch for a two year old child left unattended in a locked car. A concerned citizen called 911 after seeing the child locked inside the car. The child was screaming and extremely sweaty. The citizen took action and broke out a window and got the child out.
Officers spoke with two adults who were watching the child. They said the child was only alone for four minutes. This case will be reviewed by the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office for charging through the district court.”
Meanwhile, Oropeza is being praised by other members of the law enforcement community for her quick-thinking.
“Kudos to that young lady for doing that and helping a child out,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.
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