- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Juneau couple plans to fight a citation for leaving their two children in the car while shopping for camping supplies, saying their kids were traumatized and the police search was illegal.

Police took the children of Andrea Parent and Joshua Allen Jones from the car after receiving a tip. In the process, police found a pipe with marijuana in it, the Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/1mGGFxs).

While the couple admits to a lapse in judgment in leaving their kids alone in the car, Parent said the kids weren’t in any danger. She said it was evening, the weather was chilly and the window was cracked.

Jones speculated a jilted person from his past, who the two ran into on their way into the Fred Meyer store last Friday, made the call to police.

The police department stands by the officers’ response.

It is not illegal under Alaska law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. But it is illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle containing a controlled substance.

Parent, 22, and Jones, 29, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree, which is considered a minor offense. Arraignment has been scheduled for later this month. Both expressed dismay over the Office of Children’s Services having an open case on the family and the potential for “child endangerment” on their record. Parent said they have had one prior contact with the office.

The department received a call from a 19-year-old woman, who reported an infant had been locked in a vehicle with sealed windows for the past 20 minutes. Officers arriving at the scene took the two children, ages 5 and 2 ½, out of the vehicle and put them in the police car. One officer then went inside the store and paged their parents.

In the citation, Officer Sterling Salisbury wrote the kids were in the vehicle for “50 minutes” and that he found the children “crying, screaming and trying to get out of the car.” The parents dispute this. Parent said the couple was inside “20 minutes, if that.”

Lt. David Campbell, a police spokesman, said an officer also found the windows cracked about a third of the way down - not rolled up, as the caller claimed - and the officer reached through the window to unlock the car and get the kids out.

He said concern for the children justified opening the doors. He said the marijuana was in plain view. Parent said it was stashed beneath the dashboard.

Parent and Jones said they do not smoke pot in front of their kids, and planned on smoking during their camping trip after the kids had gone to bed.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide