Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities woman is in trouble with the law after police say she left two kids, ages 2 and 3, inside a cold car while she drank inside a bar.
Authorities say 55-year-old Sarah Philbrick, the children’s aunt, went inside Lindee’s Saloon and Eatery in Hopkins Sunday night while the children were left alone in the parking lot. The kids were reportedly in the car for more than an hour before an alert employee, walking through the parking lot, heard one of them cough from the back seat.
WCCO-TV talked with employees who likely prevented the incident from becoming a lot worse.
Lauren Dickover said she walked by a car with a window already broken and heard children crying because there was snow on the car. She told her manager, who then broke more of the window to crawl into the car 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.
It was about 25 degrees outside when the kids were rescued at about 8 p.m. Sunday, and the children didn’t have any jackets, hats or gloves.
“Their hands were beat red and their arms were pink just from being so cold. The first thing I thought of was we need to give them food because it’s terribly cold outside,” Dickover said. “So then I got them a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and I got a coloring book and some colors.”
One of the bar’s employees even changed one of the children’s diapers.
Hopkins Police say Philbrick left the bar in a taxi, only to return a short time later. According to a criminal complaint, the cab driver was angry and said she didn’t know where she wanted to go. She was red in the face and stumbled as she walked.
Philbrick was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect. Police said that take these kinds of incidents very seriously, especially since it involves young children.
“A citizen stepped up and averted a tragedy, and that’s a huge point for us here at the police department,” said Sgt. Michael Glassberg. “The ending here could’ve been very different than it was.”
A bar manager said she has kids herself and instinct took over. As for the kids, they are doing fine now. Police said when the children’s parents found out about what happened they were very angry.