Treffly Coyne, a mother in Tinley Park, Illinois, is facing a count of child endangerment after leaving her 2-year-old briefly locked inside her car as she and three other children ran up to the front of a Crestwood Wal-Mart to put money in a Salvation Army collection bucket. The case raises an interesting point — what is the threshold for the amount of time you can leave your child “alone” (the car was always in Coyne’s plain sight) until it becomes endangerment?
Coyne took her three daughters and a neighbor’s child to Wal-Mart on an icy night so her kids could donate money they collected to the Salvation Army.
When she drove up to the Wal-Mart entrance, her 2-year-old daughter was asleep. Rather than wake her up and risk falling on the icy pavement with the child in her arms, Coyne left her in her car seat, locked the car and walked about 30 feet away to a Salvation Army bell ringer’s bucket with the other three kids, the defense said.
A minute or two later as she and the kids walked back to the car, a community service officer from Crestwood was standing there and told her she was under arrest for child endangerment.
Coyne said she couldn’t believe what was happening because she was always within sight of her car, her husband said.
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