Man witnesses children left in car alone, takes action


POSTED: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 4:49pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 9:43am

A 16-month-old died Friday in Maryland after being left inside of a hot car. And just last Sunday a Longview toddler was in the back of a car when she was stolen. We hear reports like this year after year but, one man in East Texas actually witnessed two small children left alone inside of a car on Friday and he decided to confront the parent.

Shane Nowak of Tyler says, "I can't believe someone could do something like this when you hear about all these bad things that happen." Nowak says as he was leaving Wal-Mart on South Broadway in Tyler on Friday when he noticed two small children alone in car seats in the back of a truck. Nowak says, "The car was wide open, the windows were open, they had the car started no parents inside, two kids they must have been two to five years old."

He says after he and other onlookers saw the kids in the car, he called Tyler police. But before the police arrived, Nowak says about 15 minutes later, he says he saw the owner of the truck, so he then decided to approach the man and tell him he was watching his truck to make sure his children were safe.

Nowak says, "He was like ‘oh yeah yeah thanks’ like I was doing him a favor—and I was like no, you can't do this anymore, there's no reason for you to do this, these kids were out here by themselves who knows how long you were in there." Leaving your children unattended in a car is a class C misdemeanor.

The law states children under 7 years old should not be left in a vehicle unattended for more than 5 minutes unless they are accompanied by someone 14 years old or older. It's also a crime to leave your car running without the driver in the car.

Trooper Jean Dark from the Department of Public Safety says leaving your children alone in any setting is never a good idea. Dark says, "Even if the windows are down in a situation such as that what's to keep someone from stealing the vehicle? and thieves don't generally car if anyone else is inside especially small children."

Trooper Dark says, to prevent anything bad from happening the best rule is always, Dark says, "Secure your vehicle, and take your children with you."

Tyler police never arrived in time to catch the man Mr. Nowak was speaking of, and no charges were filed in this case.

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Shane, thanks for caring enough to stop and do something. So many people would have ignored the children and walked on by. It is unacceptable to ever leave a child unattended in a car, too many dangers await. NOTHING you are doing could be more important than making sure your children are safe. Please visit and for information on how you can help save a child's life.

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