Parents Leave Kids in Car During Wine Tasting

 Christopher Lucas and Jennie Chang the Parents of two kids Leave them in the Car During Wine Tasting

Picture – ABC News

Parents Leave Kids in Car During Wine Tasting on a Cold Winter Day

A Washington, D.C. couple was arrested on Saturday, January 31 for leaving their small children in a locked, unattended car for approximately an hour while they attended a nearby wine tasting. This has led to headlines reading “Parents leave kids in car during wine tasting.”The manager of the Ris restaurant, where the wine tasting took place, said that 41-year-old Christopher Lucas and 46-year-old Jennie Chang had spent an hour inside.The restaurant was around the corner from where the car was parked, about a distance of 400 feet. It’s also a 10-minute walk from the couple’s $1 million townhouse in the Northwest part of the city.

Below Freezing WeatherThe engine of the gray Volvo wasn’t running in 28-degree weather, while the two children, a 2 ½-year-old crying girl, and 22-month-old boy sat without hats or gloves on. They were strapped into car seats in the vehicle, while the boy also had no socks or shoes.

Police Are CalledPolice first became aware of the situation after receiving a call at 4:30 p.m. about two unattended children in a car. The call came from a condominium owner whose residence was directly above where the car was parked. He waited for approximately 20 minutes before phoning the police.Authorities were able to determine that no one came near the car during the children were unattended, as a result of Ritz Carlton Hotel surveillance video of the surrounding area.

“What is the Problem?”Lucas arrived at the vehicle while police were investigating the call and trying to figure out how to enter it. He told police that he was monitoring the children through the use of his iPhone after having left a cell phone on inside the car.According to police reports, Lucas commented to officers, “The children were sleeping, so I went inside.” Chang was confused about the police presence, asking, “What is the problem?”

Arrest and ArraignmentThe couple was subsequently charged at Second District headquarters with attempted cruelty to children in the second degree, and remained jailed until their arraignment on Monday morning. Meanwhile, the children were taken to the local Child Protective Services.The second degree charges are based on District of Columbia law that refers to the “mistreating of a child” or in conduct where a child is in “grave risk” of bodily injury.

Two days later, the couple appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. They were ordered to keep away from the children by the judge, and face up to 10 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.After leaving the courthouse, the couple ran quickly to a taxi, with a large number of media following in pursuit. In the days since, the headline of “Parents leave kids in car during wine tasting,” has gone across the world.According to neighbors of the couple, the charges are a shock since they were considered to be attentive.

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