Cops: Baby dies after being left in dad's car all day at BART station
By Roman Gokhman

Posted: 06/08/2009 07:53:16 PM PDT
Updated: 06/08/2009 09:51:24 PM PDT


EL CERRITO — A 4-month-old boy who had been left inside his father's car at a BART parking lot all day died Monday evening.

The boy was rushed to a hospital around 5:30 p.m. after his mother found him unresponsive inside his father's car, which was parked at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station in the 6600 block of Fairmount Avenue.

The boy, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. at Doctors Medical Center, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

The boy's father typically dropped the boy off with someone before heading to the BART station, Johnson said. The mother went to pick him up but he was not there.

She decided to go to the BART station, where she found the father's car with the boy inside. Police believe the child had been inside the car all day.

The baby was rushed to Doctors Medical Center, and his condition was not available. BART police were in the process of interviewing the parents, Johnson said.

Anyone with information may call BART police at 510-464-7040.



Baby who died after being left in car identified
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

(06-09) 08:02 PDT EL CERRITO -- The 4-month-old baby who died after being left in a car at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station was identified today as Everett Carey.

Everett, who lived in El Cerrito, died at 6:02 p.m. Monday at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, about a half-hour after his mother found him in inside his father's leased 2006 Chrysler parked at the BART station on Fairmount Ave., authorities said.

The infant apparently had been inside the car all day, according to BART police.

Everett's mother discovered him unconscious in his father's silver Chrysler about 5:30 p.m. and called 911.

"The Fire Department arrived shortly thereafter. They witnessed a very tragic scene of a mom holding her 4-month-old infant son," BART police Lt. Frank Lucarelli told reporters.

Everett's father normally dropped him off at a babysitter or nursery in the morning before driving to the station, authorities said.

The infant's mother went to the station to look for him after learning he wasn't where he was supposed to be, authorities said. Everett was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and his mother followed in a separate ambulance. BART police planned to interview the parents.

Authorities said the investigation into Everett's death was in its preliminary stages and that it was too soon to say whether his father could face criminal prosecution.

An autopsy is scheduled for today by the Contra Costa coroner, and findings such as the cause of death and the results of toxicology tests will be taken into account, authorities said.

Whether or not parents are charged with crimes depends on the circumstances of each individual case and decisions made by prosecutors.

In May 2007, Haley Sheri Wesley forgot that her 10-month-old daughter Maddison was in her car. Wesley usually took Maddison to a child care center, but visited friends in Napa that day before going to work at Pacific Union College in Angwin, authorities said. She returned to her home in Angwin and emerged a short time later to find Maddison unresponsive. Wesley was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment.

In July 2007, Danny Takemoto of Benicia apparently forgot to drop off his 11-month-old son, Ian, at a Pleasant Hill day care and then left him in the car for most of the day. Takemoto went to work at a Concord medical equipment company and found Ian in the back seat of his car after his wife asked why their son wasn't at day care, authorities said. Takemoto was initially arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment, but he was never charged.

An average of 36 children nationwide die trapped in overheated cars. Some get into the cars on their own, some are intentionally left by parents, but the majority are forgotten by a parent or caregiver who failed to glance in the backseat.

Child-safety experts say even the most conscientious parents can forget about their children's presence because of changes in routine. For example, a parent who usually goes straight to day care may first go to the bank and then drive to work, apparently distracted by that one detour.

Exacerbating the situation is that children in the back seat may be too small to see, or they may be sleeping and not making any noise, experts say.

Authorities say there are a number of ways to remember when a small child is in the backseat:

-- Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and place it in the front seat as a reminder whenever the child is in back.

-- Always place something in the backseat -- such as a purse, lunch bag or windshield sunshade -- that requires you to open the back door every time you park.

-- Ask your child care provider to call you or other emergency contacts within a short period if the child does not arrive.

Children who are left inside a car all day can quickly fall victim to heat-related injuries or deaths no matter what the weather is like outside, authorities said.

"It could be 60 degrees outside with a breeze, but inside a car with the windows rolled up, it becomes a very, very bad environment to be in," Lucarelli said. "This is a tragedy that not only affects the family, but the parents in our community. The officers, I know, are very distraught over this. Nobody wants to go to a scene like this."

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.