May 06, 2019 07:42 PM
A 26-year-old Apple Valley man is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge after authorities say his 4-year-old son died after being left in a parked car exposed to the sun for several hours Saturday afternoon at CHS Field in St. Paul.
Court documents show Kristopher Alexander Taylor was charged Monday in Ramsey County. He made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. Bail was set at $25,000 without conditions.
His next appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
The criminal complaint states Taylor arrived at Regions Hospital around 5:35 p.m. Saturday carrying his son and frantically asking for medical help. The boy was unresponsive and was pronounced dead on arrival.
According to the complaint, an off-duty police officer approached Taylor and asked what had happened. Taylor allegedly asked to go to his vehicle, and the officer was said to have gone with him to a 2017 Dodge Journey parked outside the hospital. As Taylor grabbed some items, the officer reportedly noticed the inside of the vehicle was very hot.
The boy's mother also arrived at the hospital and told police he was fine when Taylor picked him up around 2:30 a.m. on Friday so she could go to work at her early-morning job.
The complaint goes on to allege Taylor - who was arrested at the hospital - said he and his son had gone to an event at which he was scheduled to work at CHS Field Saturday. He said that he got his son settled on the outfield grass where he could see him. When things slowed down, the complaint states Taylor said he went to check on the boy.
When the boy said he was tired, Taylor allegedly said he took him to the vehicle. The complaint claims he told police he "hit the automatic window and thought he left it cracked maybe 1/2 or 1/4 of an inch." He then allegedly "gave the boy a blanket and a hand-held gaming system to entertain him if he didn't sleep."
The complaint states that when Taylor returned to the vehicle after getting done with work around 5:15 p.m., he called his son's name and got no response. He then found his son had no pulse, which led him to place the boy in the front passenger seat and drive to the hospital, holding his son's hand en route.
But a police sergeant later spoke to two of his co-workers, who both said Taylor never left his shift, the complaint claims. And, in a second conversation with the sergeant, Taylor allegedly admitted he had left his son in the vehicle for the entirety of his shift.
"He said he couldn't find anyone to watch his son, and that the last time he checked on the boy was at 11:30 a.m.," the complaint reads. "Taylor said he didn't think it was that hot. Taylor said he had done it once in the past about a year ago and nothing bad happened to the boy on that occasion, but he admitted he had left the window entirely down that time."
The complaint notes the parking lot at CHS Field where the vehicle was parked "was entirely exposed to the sun."
Even with an air temperature of 70 degrees outside, it doesn't take long for the inside of a car to become dangerously hot. The graphic below shows the temperature inside a car after 20 minutes, 40 minutes and one hour. Heatstroke sets in when your body temperature hits 104 degrees and children are more vulnerable because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult.
According to the complaint, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined the cause of the boy's death to be probable hyperthermia.
According to data from the National Safety Council, the child's death would be the sixth hot car death in Minnesota since 2001.
Jan Null, a research meteorologist at San Jose State University, said the death marks the fifth hot car death in the nation in 2019. Null has researched the dynamics of how hot vehicles can get, and has tracked the heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles.
She said when the outside air temperature is around 71 degrees, the inside air temperature of a vehicle could reach around 130 or hotter if objects or the person inside are in direct sunlight.
Updated: May 06, 2019 07:42 PM
Created: May 06, 2019 11:36 AM
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