MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –A Hastings man faces charges after his 2-year-old son was found wandering the streets Sunday carrying two bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, according to charges filed by Dakota County.
On Tuesday, Robert Wayne Rassett was charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of neglect of a child and endangerment of a child in connection to the April 7 incident.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said he’s never seen a case like this in 25 years.
“He could have been hit by a car and killed. It could have easily resulted in a serious tragedy,” Backstrom said.
According to the criminal complaint, police received a call about a child in the middle of the street near 15th and Florence streets. There, police discovered the toddler, who wasn’t wearing socks or shoes, holding two Mike’s Hard Lemonades – one opened.
Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell said police then used an automated phone system to try to locate someone who knew the child. After two-and-a-half-hours with no response, police widened the call area to a broader one.
The toddler’s mother was then contacted and came to pick up the child. She told police she left the residence around 1 p.m., left the child with Rassett even though she knows she has a drinking problem. She also admitted that she was aware that he had consumed a few beers that morning, but claimed she was not aware Rassett was going to become intoxicated, the complaint said.
A short time later, at 5 p.m., Rassett called police reporting his missing son.
Police then went to Rassett’s home and found him intoxicated. He was uncooperative and officers arrested him for suspicion of child endangerment, Schnell said.
Police say there were no signs that the boy drank any alcohol. A report has been filed with child protection.
Court records show that Rassett has three prior arrests and drunk driving charges.
If convicted of both charges, Rassett could face a potential maximum sentence of one year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine per charge.