Lehigh Valley

Police: Child left in running car while dad shopped

A/C was on, but it was 81 degrees that day

L. NAZARETH TWP., Pa. - A Northampton County man is facing child endangerment charges after he allegedly left his daughter in a running car, while he stepped away to do a little shopping.

Colonial Regional police were flagged down in the parking lot of the Kohl’s department store off Route 248 in Lower Nazareth Township about 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 for an unattended child in the back of a car.

Witnesses told police they had been standing next to the 2009 Hyundai with a 2-year-old in the backseat for at least 35 minutes with no adult to be found, according to court records. Police said the vehicle was registered to Christopher M. Norrell, of Lower Nazareth Township.

Police said the car was running with the doors unlocked and the child secured in a car seat in the back, according to records. An officer opened the open and tried to wake the child, who was sweating and warm to the touch.

The air conditioning was on, but running on low with only the front driver’s side vents open, police said.

Authorities said it was 81 degrees that day and that the backseat area was warm. Police called for a medic to examine the child.

About 10 minutes after police arrived, Norrell emerged from the nearby Kohl’s and walked toward the car. He allegedly told police that his daughter was sleeping and that he thought it would be alright to do some quick shopping. He also allegedly told police that he “screwed up.”

He woke his daughter when instructed by police, but the officer said it wasn’t easy to rouse the child. She was taken to the hospital for observation.

Along with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, police charged Norrell with summary offenses of leaving a child unattended and leaving a running car unattended. District Judge Dan Corpora arraigned the 29-year-old Thursday morning, setting bail at $2,500 with a 10 percent cash option. He was released after someone posted $250 on his behalf.

Norrell’s next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 7.

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