SC mom left napping toddler in hot car because he ‘gets grumpy’

Sara Ruth West, 23 (Source: York County Sheriff's Office)

CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) – A mother has been charged with child neglect after police say she left her 3-year-old child in a hot car Wednesday afternoon at a Clover grocery store.

Sara Ruth West, 23, was arrested Wednesday and charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

According to Clover Police, a customer reported seeing the boy alone in a car.

“The ignition was off, the windows were up, and the child in their words was red and sweating,” said Lt. Tanner Davis with Clover Police.

 Photo snapped by witness showing young boy alone in the vehicle (Courtesy: Clover Police)

Photo snapped by witness showing young boy alone in the vehicle (Courtesy: Clover Police)

WBTV talked to Samantha Moses Thursday. She is the customer who reported the incident to an officer and a store employee.

“It’s too hot. He was asleep. A baby’s not going to wake up because it’s hot,” Moses said.

In addition to reporting the child being in the car, Moss took a photo with her phone. Police now have the picture.

Moses told WBTV she considered breaking the window herself, but had her kids with her.

A new law just signed in February by Governor Nikki Haley allows a good Samaritan to break a window to rescue a child or vulnerable adult if he or she believes the person will suffer immediate harm.

West left the store and was later stopped by police. Investigators were able to get a description of the car from Moses and stopped West driving in the vehicle.

After West was stopped, police say she told them she had left the child inside for “about five minutes” and that the child was sleeping. She told police the child gets grumpy and she did not want to wake the toddler.

The child did not need medical treatment and DSS placed the boy with another family member, according to Clover Police.

“It’s a felony offense, it is a serious charge, but anytime a child safety is put at that risk, or that level of risk, we’ll respond appropriately,” said Lt. Davis

Moses hopes others will keep their eyes open in parking lots this summer and that parents will always take their children out of the car.

“This is a mom that has two babies, obviously and any Momma loves their babies, and all Mommas make mistakes, but you have to learn from them too,” said Moses.

West’s bond was set at $10,000. A call to a family member was not returned.

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