Toddler dies in hot car (7/18)
Posted July 18, 2009 at 12:25 am

By DORIS MARICLE
AMERICAN PRESS

JENNINGS — A woman whose 2-year-old son died after being left in a locked car for hours has been charged with negligent homicide, authorities said.

Hollie Ann Simon, 25, of Jennings, was reportedly arrested Thursday after the toddler was found unresponsive inside the car.

“This is a tragedy for the mother because she has lost a son, but it is also a tragedy for the whole community,” Detective Jean Cooley said. “We hear about this happening in big cities … it’s always somewhere else, but this time it’s hit home.”

Cooley said police and emergency responders were called to the home at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday after the mother and a relative pulled the unresponsive toddler out of the car.

The boy was taken to Jennings American Legion Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Apparently the mother had laid down after she’d gotten home from work around 6:30 a.m.,” Cooley said. “The children were all asleep when she got in, but at some point they got up and went outside to play.”

At some point, he said, the 2-year-old and a 3-year-old sibling got into the mother’s unlocked car, which was parked on the side of the family’s home in the 4000 block of Wilbert Rochelle Drive. The 3-year-old later got out and inadvertently locked the doors with the younger sibling inside, Cooley said.

“The other children heard him crying and tried to get him to unlock the doors,” he said.

The children went inside twice, but were unable to wake the mother up, Cooley said.

The children, ages 7, 5 and 3, told investigators the toddler later quit crying and “went to sleep,” he said.

A family member stopped by to check on them, and the children told the person about the toddler inside the car, Cooley said. The relative woke the mother, and they got the child out of the car and called 911, he said.

Authorities do not know how hot the car may have gotten inside or how long the child was inside, Cooley said.

“We know it was super hot yesterday, but by the time we got there the car had been ventilated because the doors were left open,” he said.

Temperatures on Thursday afternoon reached 91 degrees with a heat index of 102 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

The toddler’s body was sent to the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.

The other children are reportedly staying with a relative and are being monitored by the state Office of Community Services