RACINE -- Racine police arrested a grandmother for leaving her 3-year-old grandson locked in a hot car while shopping Friday night.
The call came in around 6:18 p.m. to respond to the Dollar Tree off Durand Avenue.
“Dollar Tree in the parking lot for a black Saturn not running with a child locked in the vehicle, windows up,” dispatchers reported.
The criminal complaint describes that first responders had to break the window in order to get him out, and when he was finally free he “was limp and very warm to the touch.” He was rushed to the hospital, but has since been released.
Court records say police arrested 55-year-old Sharon Hickmon for neglecting her grandson.
The complaint explains that when Hickmon arrived at the hospital she started “shouting at rescue staff” for “breaking her vehicle window.” She also told officers she knew she left her grandson in the car.
When asked what she thought the temperature was at the time of the call, Hickmon said it was 80 degrees. It actually was 91 degrees and an "excessive heat warning" was in effect for the area, according to the criminal complaint.
Racine resident, Becky Sorenson, a grandmother herself, said things could have been much worse.
“It’s a 3-year-old. My God," said Sorenson. "That person could just dehydrate and die within minutes. I don’t care if they are complaining and kicking and screaming, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go.’ Let them have a tantrum in the store. At least you know for sure when you get back out to the car that you still have your child or your grandchild with you.”
Capricia Cotton felt the same way.
“That kid didn’t deserve to suffer like that in the hot heat like that,” Cotton said.
Tamika Jackson lives next door to Hickmon and said the child is lucky he’s still alive.
“My kids are my number one priority. Kids, the elderly, always keep an eye on them when it’s this hot outside. I know I keep mine close,” Jackson said.
According to Dr. Mike Meyer of Children’s Hospital, heat impacts kids differently than adults.
“Their body temperature rises faster. They’re more likely to have symptoms faster than what you and I have as an adult, and just because we’re feeling a certain way, magnify it for your little kids,” Dr. Meyer said.
That message is not to be taken lightly.
Hickmon will be back in court at the end of September.