Man ticketed 
for leaving baby 
in running car

A Grand Junction man faces a misdemeanor child abuse charge after police allege he left a 1-year-old child unattended in a parked, running vehicle for up to 8 to 10 minutes in a North Avenue parking lot.

Charles Smallwood, 23, told Grand Junction police officers he thought it would be all right if he went inside Kmart, 2809 North Ave., only for a “few minutes” while the child stayed behind, according to a police summons.

Officers were dispatched to the Kmart parking lot at 12:24 p.m. Wednesday after bystanders were worried about the child’s welfare, strapped in a car seat in the back of Smallwood’s car. One person went inside the store looking for an adult associated with the car.

Smallwood’s relation to the child isn’t clear in the police summons, which was heavily redacted.

Smallwood had returned to his car by the time officers arrived. The child was observed uninjured, “smiling and active.”

“Charles said that he had left the car running, had the heat turned off, and had the front window slightly cracked,” the summons said. “He said that the car was locked the entire time he was away.”

In a review of video surveillance, Smallwood was seen entering the store at 12:16 p.m. and was out by 12:24 p.m.

An officer wrote in the ticket. “By leaving (child) in the vehicle alone in the parking lot while he went inside the store out of view, Charles placed (child) in a dangerous situation, especially with the vehicle running. If an incident were to occur such as a vehicle break-in, a motor vehicle accident, or attempted child abduction, Charles would not have been able to intervene and protect (child).”

Smallwood was ticketed on suspicion of child abuse with negligence, a class 3 misdemeanor.


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