Mom leaves kids in car outside Wawa, and police charge her

Posted at 12:12 AM, Jan 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-24 12:32:49-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Chesterfield Police have charged 25-year-old Lavita Brown with two counts of misdemeanor child neglect.

Police say she left her one and two-year-old children in a running car while she ran into the store.

Brown said she ran into the Wawa on Iron Bridge Rd. to grab candy, drinks and cigarettes.

"My car was parked right by the window. I could see my headlights, I couldn't see my kids but I could see my headlights," Brown said.

She said she was inside the store for around two minutes, and was stopped by an officer on her way out. She said the officer noticed the children in the car and after questioning, charged her.

"I wasn't neglecting them. I didn't mean any harm just by running in the store to get candy, drinks, and my cigarettes," she said.

Todd Stone, CBS 6 Legal Expert, said police often times want to know how long you can leave your kids in the car. Stone said there's no black and white rule to the situation, and said it's often times subjective to the officer.

"You look at all the factors, like their age and maturity level and the location and the temperature outside and make a decision about whether it affects their safety," said Stone.

Lavita said she never intended to put her children in danger, and said this incident now serves as a learning experience.

"Whenever I do have to go to the store from now on to avoid any problems I will have them in the store with me at all times. This is a big lesson," she said.