East Alabama couple charged with leaving toddler alone in hot car

East Alabama couple charged with leaving toddler alone in hot car
Irma Yolanda Lucas Perez (Source: OPD)
Irma Yolanda Lucas Perez (Source: OPD)

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) –  A person walking by knew something was wrong when she saw a toddler alone, locked inside a parked car outside the Hibachi Sushi Grill Buffet off Pepperell Parkway in Opelika Tuesday night.

She immediately called authorities and within 10 minutes, first responders got the child out, unharmed.

"Officers found a small child that was in a car seat and appeared to be asleep. He was sweating profusely. We located the mother and her male companion inside the restaurant. They were having dinner," explains Captain Shane Healey of the Opelika Police Department.

The child's mother, 27-year-old Irma Perez and her friend 22-year-old Cornelio Lopez have been charged with Endangering Welfare of Child, a Class A misdemeanor. Lopez was also charged with giving officers a false name and address.

We don't know the reason why they allegedly left the child in the car. The two-year-old was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center and released to family members.

"When they made contact with the child it was about 85 degrees outside," says Healey.

According to Georgia law, it is legal for someone to break into a car to save a human, but not animals.

In Alabama that would be considered a crime, and citizens are urged to call 911.

"As far as knocking out windows, this state does not have a law that covers that. It could actually be considered criminal mischief. So the best thing to do is to get the police and paramedics there and let us make the decision on what to do," explains Healey.

To make sure you never make the potentially deadly mistake of leaving a child or pet in the car, experts recommend placing an object like your shoe, cell phone or employee badge in the backseat or a stuffed animal in the front seat to remind you of your precious cargo.

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