Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Child left in car

I tend to wonder if the whole thing was exaggerated a bit. Especially since the woman wasn't very far from the car. Then again, I wasn't there. I try not to go places with two girls. Dad takes them grocery shopping once in a while, but I think he's very brave!

What do you think?

Charges dropped against Tinley Park woman who left child in car

Crestwood police stand behind decision to arrest

While a Tinley Park woman celebrated, the Crestwood police chief said he was disappointed that prosecutors Thursday dropped charges of child endangerment and obstruction of justice against her for leaving her toddler asleep in a parked car.

"We're not happy with the decision. . .she clearly refused to cooperate with our officers that night, and we believe this sends the wrong message to the public," police Chief Timothy Sulikowski said. "We stand behind our officers and the decision they made that night to protect the welfare of that child."

Ellen "Treffly" Coyne, 36, appeared Thursday afternoon in the Bridgeview branch of Cook County Circuit Court, where Assistant State's Atty. Peggy Gill-Curtin told Judge James J. Ryan that "based on the completed investigation into all the facts of the case, the state has concluded it would be unable to meet the burden of proof at trial."

As she walked toward the courtroom door, her husband, Tim Janecyk, 38, met her in the aisle and hugged her. As they embraced, the judge said, "Sir, you have to go outside."

Coyne and her three daughters, Sierra, 9, Haley, 8, and Phoebe, 2, went to a Wal-Mart in Crestwood on Dec. 8 to donate $8.29 the children had collected for the annual Salvation Army kettle drive. Phoebe was asleep, so Coyne said she parked at the curb, shut off the engine, locked the doors and activated the hazard lights and car alarm before leaving the station wagon to take a photo of the girls as they put their coins into the bucket.

Coyne said she was never more than 30 feet from the vehicle and was gone for only a few minutes. A Crestwood community service officer saw the girl in the car and called for police.

In Illinois, parents who leave a child age 6 or younger unattended in a car can be charged with misdemeanor child endangerment, which carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

"We have contended all along that the child was never unattended in the vehicle, that Miss Coyne, the whole entire time, could see the vehicle from where she was standing," said Coyne's attorney, Michelle Forbes. She added that the community service officer did not have a clear view of Coyne while she was away from her car.

"The officers at the scene never bothered to listen to her story—they just chose to charge her," Forbes said. "We're glad that the state's attorney's office reviewed all the evidence, looked at the [store security] videotape and agreed with us that no crime was committed."

News stories about Coyne's arrest sparked heated debate across the country on Internet message boards, with some accusing the police of abusing their power and others supporting them for their quick action.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Hmmmm, I would say what she did was wrong but then I would be a big, fat hypocrite! Unfortunately, I've had to do it. When hubby was out of town and I had sick boys and it was about 10 degrees, I ran into the drugstore to get them drugs. And, there has been a time or two otherwise. With 2 whopping 26-lbers, you just gotta do what you gotta do. So, on that note, I will not post what I drive or where I live so that people will not be on the lookout to report me, too!!!

By the way, yes, it was my grandpa that lived south of Gypsum. Warren Ade was his name. His brother Don lived by Gypsum, too. Their farm is about 7 miles S and a little west.