COLUMBIA, S.C. — A woman was is facing charges after Richland County deputies say she left her toddler in a hot car
Dougrica Lewis, 32, is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.
Deputies say they responded to reports of a child being left unattended in a St. Andrews Road parking lot around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 7. When they arrived, deputies say they found a three-year-old child sitting inside a vehicle by himself with the windows cracked only on the driver's side. The outside temperature at the time was around 80 degrees, and officials say the child was sweating.
Deputies say they reached through the cracked window, unlocked the car door and removed the child from the back seat. Deputies then approached the only woman getting a manicure in a salon, later identified as Lewis, about the child.
Lewis reportedly told deputies she had done nothing wrong by leaving her son in the vehicle because she could see him from inside the salon. She said she had to leave her toddler inside of the vehicle because the nail salon had a policy that prohibited children under the age of 10, officials say.
Lewis was charged and taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. She has since bonded out.
The toddler was taken to the hospital for evaluation. The condition of the child has not been released, according to deputies.
Richland County sheriff Leon says it is important to not leave children unattended in vehicles at any time — not even for a second. Deputies say six children died in South Carolina from hyperthermia in 2018, up from one in 2017 and zero in 2016.