What would you do…if your tan is fading, you don’t have time to tan the old-fashioned way and you would like to drive to a tanning salon but your 6-year old girl and 10-month-old boy are in the car with you? (TAR Lite # 10)
1. Find a babysitter to watch over them?
2. Drop your kids off at a friend’s house for a few minutes while you visit the salon?
3. Decide that since excessive tanning can cause cancer, you change your mind, go home and apply a self-tanner?
4. Leave them in the car with the car idling and the front window cracked a bit for air?
Congratulations if you selected # 4, which is what 28-year old Krista Mann did, with the car’s gear-selector within reach of the 6-year-old.
An officer checking parking meters found the car with the abandoned kids and asked where their parent was. After pointing to the tanning salon across the street, the 6-year-old told the officer she was not supposed to talk to strangers and began to cry. When the officer located Mann, he told her to get dressed and return to the car with him, where he asked for her driver’s license. She told him it was at home; he later learned her license had been suspended due to a previous conviction for DUI.
Mann now faces charges of child welfare endangerment, leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Unfortunately, she wasn’t tested at the scene for the crime that may lie at the root of the others—driving under the influence. Impaired judgment and poor parenting are classic manifestations of alcoholism. These can occur between drinking episodes, as well as during. In a moment of clarity she admitted what she did was “stupid,” but the moment was forced on her. If she hadn’t been caught, she likely wouldn’t have experienced such clarity. The officer did her and the children a great favor, but the law could have done so much more—including providing Ms. Mann an ankle bracelet that continuously tests for alcohol in her system. Such a logical consequence of being “stupid” helps to reduce the odds of being “stupid” yet again. This time, the children got lucky—tragedy didn’t happen. Next time, the children might not be so fortunate.