Sarah Oropeza was working late Saturday at her job as a manager at Footlocker in Merriam, KS, when a co-worker burst into the store yelling about a baby being locked in a car. Oropeza ran out to the parking lot to find a toddler crying in a car with all of the windows rolled up, KCTV5 reported. Temperatures outside the sealed car were in the triple digits.
Oropeza and a group of of on-lookers frantically searched for a way to break into the car. After three minutes of bashing away with a screwdriver another woman gave Oropeza a trailer hitch to toss through the window.
When she picked up the child she was drenched in sweat. A nurse on the scene gave the toddler medical care while they wait for police and ambulances to arrive. A police officer arrived with diapers, as there was no diaper bag in the car. When the couple who left the child returned to claim her, Oropeza says, they were more worried about the damage to their car than the distress of their young niece.
"No emotion at all, whatsoever. The only question they had for police was if insurance was going to pay to cover the window that we broke," Oropeza told KCTV5.
The couple were told to leave the store and received a ticket for child endangerment. Police are investigating whether stronger charges are warranted. The little girl is back with her parents and suffered no injuries.
Leaving a child in a car in such brutal temperatures is very dangerous. On average, 38 children die of hyperthermia in hot cars every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So far at least 10 children have died in 2015 nationwide. A hot car can heat up well over 125 degrees and can kill a child in a matter of minutes.