Parents Arrested for Leaving Kids in Freezing Car to Attend Fancy Wine Tasting​

A couple from Washington, DC, has been charged with cruelty to children after police say they left their two toddlers in a car in the frigid cold so they could enjoy themselves at a wine tasting event.


Jennie Chang, 45, and Christophe Lucas, 41, were reportedly too busy sipping the nectar of the gods inside of the upscale eatery Ris Restaurant to remember that they had left their two toddlers—one is 22 months old and his sister is slightly older— alone in a parked car Saturday, with the heat and engine turned off. Meanwhile, the temperatures inside the car had reportedly dipped down to a not-at-all-balmy 28 degrees.

It's possible the children would have remained in the vehicle even longer if witnesses hadn't jumped in and called police after spotting the toddlers alone at around 4:30 p.m. Although both children were wearing coats, witnesses say they were not wearing gloves or hats and the younger child didn't have socks or shoes on, while the girl was reportedly "hysterically crying."

Authorities reportedly located Chang and Lucas inside of the restaurant and charged them with second-degree cruelty to children, which could mean the couple will each face $10,000 fines and/or 10 years in prison.

Lucas reportedly told police he had left a cellphone on inside of the car and that he and Chang kept checking on the vehicle. The children are, thankfully, physically fine, and are now in the care of DC Child and Family Services.

One officer brought up a really good point: if you are affluent enough to attend a wine tasting, and the Lucas family reportedly lives in a $1 million rowhouse, why on earth wouldn't you just hire a babysitter for the afternoon? But large income or not, there is NO excuse for leaving your child alone in a cold car so you can have adult fun.

Lots of parents crave good times. But when we make the choice to have children, they come first. And leaving them inside of a cold car to get your drink on, whether you're doing it at a hole-in-the-wall bar or an upscale restaurant, is unacceptable.

What do you think about the charges these parents face for leaving their toddlers in a car so they can attend a wine tasting?


Image via Leon Brocard/Flickr

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