Dyersburg Police cited a woman over the weekend after she reportedly left a small child and an infant unattended in a car.
Vania Blaylock, 23, 324 St. George St., Dyersburg, Tenn., was cited into court for leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle on Saturday, Oct. 6.
According to police, patrol officers assigned to bicycle detail observed two small children left unattended in a parked vehicle on Tucker Circle at approximately 10:30 p.m. Officers investigated further to find one was a 4-year-old and the other was an infant in the back seat of the car with the engine running and doors unlocked.
Officers remained with the children as they tried to determine where the parent or guardian was. Approximately eight minutes later the children's mother exited a nearby apartment and spoke with police.
Officers cited Blaylock to court and she has a court appearance in Dyersburg City Court on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at 9 a.m.
Blaylock is charged with Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of $200.
Tennessee law says it is an offense for a person responsible for a child younger than 7 years of age to knowingly leave that child in a motor vehicle on public property or a number of other locations without being supervised by a person who is at least 13 years of age. One of three conditions must also be met for a person to be charged: if the conditions present a risk to the child's health or safety; the engine of the motor vehicle is running; or the keys to the motor vehicle are located anywhere inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
Although the offense is only a misdemeanor, Dyersburg Police Capt. Steve Isbell stated the department takes the charge very seriously.
"Regardless if the conditions (of the law) apply or not, you should never leave a child unattended in a vehicle," said Isbell. "You hear of cases where children are able to get the car in gear and also about people stealing cars with children in them. A lot of things could go wrong when a child is left alone in a vehicle."