- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

Commuters racing to catch a train typically forget things such as their keys, wallet or briefcase.

But a harried Metro rider left behind something far more precious yesterday when he pulled into the station parking lot and jumped on the subway: his baby daughter.

“Dad forgot baby was in the car, parked the car, got on the Metro,” said Lucille Baur, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County police.

“I don’t know exactly when he got the memory flash, but he was in D.C. when it was the horrible defining moment: ‘Oh my goodness, I think I’ve left my child back in my car,’ ” Miss Baur said.

At that point, she said, Jonathan Sander, 33, of North Potomac, got off the southbound Red Line train and onto a northbound one, returning to the Shady Grove Metrorail station in Derwood, about 12 miles north of the District.

But by that time, other commuters passing through the garage had noticed the 71/2-month-old girl in the back seat of the car and alerted transit workers. Firefighters opened the locked car and, as a precaution, took her to a hospital. She was reunited there with her mother.

“Child Protective Services was comfortable with releasing the child back to the mom,” Miss Baur said. “We all believe that the child was not intentionally left in the car.”

Police were not sure how long the child was alone but said they did not think it was too long.

“Our understanding is that he is not usually responsible for his daughter’s child care arrangements,” Miss Baur said of Mr. Sander.

Police cited Mr. Sander for violating a family law against leaving a child younger than 8 unattended in a car or building. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

“We have one very terrified, embarrassed father for this circumstance,” Miss Baur said. “This is an example, I think, of how rushed our lives are today.”

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