Police: Hot day, kids left in car; Derry woman charged
DERRY — A Derry mother is facing charges after police said she left two toddlers inside a sweltering vehicle outside Walmart Tuesday afternoon.
“The current temperature was in the mid-90s and the vehicle was parked in the unshaded parking lot with its windows open less than one inch,” Capt. Vernon Thomas said. “Officers noted that the children appeared to be in distress due to the temperature in the vehicle. They were crying, sweating, and had a red color to their faces.”
According to witnesses, Marie Dennis’ children had been in the vehicle for about 20 minutes.
Dennis, 33, of 42 Pond Road, was arraigned in Derry District Court Wednesday morning on two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and resisting arrest.
Police and fire personnel responded to a 911 call shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday after several people noticed two children locked in a green 2001 Mazda Tribute in the Walmart parking lot on Ashleigh Drive, Thomas said.
As emergency workers tried to get into the vehicle, Dennis approached from the store and unlocked the Mazda with her keys. The children were taken by a medic to a waiting ambulance, according to Thomas.
Fire department personnel began treating the pair at the scene. The children were taken to Parkland Medical Center, where they were treated for heat exhaustion and later released to a caretaker, Thomas said.
Dennis struggled with officers as they tried to arrest her, police said. Her bail was set at $5,000 cash or surety.
Her bail conditions include no unsupervised contact with children under 18.
Dennis remained in custody at Rockingham County Jail Wednesday night.