Police: Possibility of charges unknown for father of boy left in car

COLONIE, N.Y. – Investigators are calling the incident involving a one-year-old boy left in a car for eight hours a horrific mistake.

Colonie Police say on a normal day, the boy's father drops him off at daycare and the mother picks him up.

But Thursday, the father forgot.

“Everything right now appears that this was a legitimate, although potentially horrific error,” says Lieutenant Winn. “There may or may not be criminal charges that fit to that.”

Winn says if a charge was to occur, it would likely be Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

However, the law states a person is guilty of that only if he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental, or moral welfare of a child.

“Child Protective Services is involved, which means going forward, it will be made sure this is a proper environment for the kid, that there is nothing in the past and going forward there will be some monitoring there,” says Winn.

Police say there are a couple of factors that contributed to the boy's survival, including the fact that the father had between a 35 and 40 minute commute into work and that the car was parked in the sun.

In NEWS10's parking lot, a thermometer was left inside two cars, one parked in the sun and one parked in the shade.

After just three hours, the car in the sun was at 56 degrees and the car in the shade was at 28 degrees.

Police say the fact that it is winter, saved the boy's life.

“It's very well documented how hot a car can get if left in the sun in the summer, so I don't think this would have had the same resolution, no,” says Winn. “Other
than having a soiled diaper and the normal stresses of being in a car, the
child in all aspects appeared okay.”

Winn says the child was strapped in his car sear and dressed for warm
weather.  The father was distraught when he realized what happened.

had been experiencing some other issues in his life, he had a recent death in
his family,” says Winn.  “Some of his co-workers say he has been
distracted recently and that's one of the things we're looking into.”

psychologist, Dr. Frank Doberman says the recent death likely played a big
factor into the incident.

the child is quiet or the child falls asleep, his mind goes on automatic pilot
and shifts from his normal routine,” says Dr. Doberman. 

Doberman says the recent death is not an excuse, but certainly the stress
was a contributing factor to what police are calling a horrific mistake.

“I think he fell into his
automatic activities and mindlessly didn't remember what he needed to do,”
he says.

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