There’s been a lot in the news lately about the “nanny state” we’ve devolved to, of jumping to the rescue of children who don’t need it. Remember the Maryland couple who got a visit from the police after allowing their kids to walk home from the park, or the woman arrested for letting her 9-year-old child play at a public park alone? Well, it’s couples like the one in the story I’m about to tell you that set the stage for people overreacting and assuming all parents are negligent idiots.
A D.C. couple who apparently couldn’t find a babysitter for a couple hours while they hit the town, decided it would be a sound parenting decision to just leave their toddlers in a parked car near the restaurant. It was 28 degrees outside. They left two toddlers in a locked car with no heat in 28 degree temperature. The restaurant’s manager confirmed to WIJA that the suspects identified by police, 45-year-old Jennie Chang and 41-year-old Christophe Lucas, were inside restaurant ‘Ris’ attending a wine tasting.
They were sipping wine while their toddlers were sitting alone in a locked, freezing car for an hour. Sorry, I had to repeat that.
Lucas told investigators he left a cell phone inside the car to monitor the children and they kept an eye on the car. Even if that were remotely safe and not totally stupid, what about the temperature?
The couple is facing a charge of first-degree cruelty to children and if convicted could face fines up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison. The children are being held by Child Protective Services.
I’m at a loss. The restaurant is pretty fancy, so maybe they thought they would be inconveniencing others if they brought their children in? I’m grasping at straws here to try and figure out what would possess an older couple to think even for a minute that this was okay. Not to mention the fact that driving after a wine tasting isn’t the best decision, either. Their neighbors “expressed surprise,” saying Chang and Lucas are “attentive, caring parents.” Not that night they weren’t.
This kind of terrible parenting judgment does not happen in a vacuum. You don’t go from being an “attentive, caring parent” to leaving your children in a freezing car for an hour so you can sip wine. It’s a good thing someone noticed. Who knows how long they would have left them out there?
DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG
(photo: Jose Ignacio Soto/ Shutterstock)