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The recent conviction of a woman who left her two young children locked in a car parked on a Pasadena city street on a hot summer day serves as an important reminder that the Pasadena City Attorney/City Prosecutor’s Office will rigorously seek convictions in similar cases.
“There is no such thing as a quick errand when it comes to leaving kids or animals in the sweltering heat inside a car,” Pasadena City Attorney/City Prosecutor Michele Beal Bagneris said. “Our message is clear: don’t leave children inside a car in the heat.”
Recently, Highland Park resident Corina Lopez, 35, pled guilty on Aug. 5, 2014 to two counts of child endangerment stemming from an Aug. 1, 2014 incident in which she left her two children, ages 3 and 7, inside a car parked on the street near the Pasadena Public Health Department. The Department’s security guard alerted public safety officials to the situation.
Pasadena Fire officials at the scene determined the temperature inside the car was over 120 degrees. Authorities got the children to unlock the car door to free themselves prior to forcing entry into the car. The children were checked by paramedics who determined they were otherwise unharmed.
Police questioned Ms. Lopez and she was taken into custody. Later, two counts of Penal Code section 273a(a), child endangerment likely to lead to serious injury or death, one count per child, were filed. She pled guilty at her Aug. 5 arraignment and was sentenced to five years of probation; 120 days in county jail; mandatory year of parenting classes; pay court fines and fees; ordered to stay away from the children completely and to obey all orders from the Department of Children and Family Services.
At the time of her arrest and conviction in this case, Ms. Lopez was on probation for conviction of driving under the influence in a January 2013 case.
Bagneris said such cases in Pasadena, while rare, will not be tolerated. Her office usually files about two such cases each year out of about 4,500 case filings.
“Even one case is one too many when it comes to leaving children in cars on a hot summer day,” she added. “We have a great team of prosecutors in Pasadena and we are ready to seek the full extent of justice in order to protect the children.”