HOPKINS, Minn. (WCCO) – A 55-year-old woman is behind bars Monday after she allegedly left two kids, ages 2 and 3, alone inside a cold car while she drank alcohol.
On Sunday night, Hopkins Police were dispatched to Lindee’s Saloon and Eatery on a child welfare check. When police arrived, they found two children inside a business who were located in an unattended vehicle in the parking lot. The children were apparently cold and not wearing proper clothing for the elements.
Police say an investigation revealed that a restaurant employee discovered the children inside a locked and unattended vehicle, which was not running. The car’s back window was mostly missing.
Waitress Lauren Dickover says her manager decided to break the window further in order to crawl in and get the children out.
“We asked, you know, if there was anybody who owned a station wagon, and nobody was here to claim it,” Dickover said.
The kids were rescued at 8 p.m. when the temperature was only 25 degrees. The kids weren’t wearing jackets, hats, or gloves.
“Their hands are beet red and their arms are pink just from being so cold. So I got them a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, and I got a coloring book out with some colors,” she said.
One of the waitresses even went so far as to change the diaper of the youngest child.
“Just trying to distract them from the tragedy that was really going on,” said Dickover.
While the children were inside the car, the children’s aunt, who was supposed to be caring for the children, was consuming alcohol inside the bar. She later left in a taxi, police say.
The children’s parents, who were at work, were notified immediately. They told police officers to turn the children over to another relative.
The aunt, identified as Sarah Joan Philbrick, later returned to the bar and was arrested. She’s being held at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center on two counts of child endangerment, which are gross misdemeanors.
The Hopkins Police added that “thanks to an alert citizen, a potentially tragic situation was averted and two children are safe.”