An Indianapolis man is being credited with saving two young lives by calling 911 when he noticed a 4-year-old and infant left in a hot car.
Police said the incident happened on a warm Wednesday afternoon in a Kroger parking lot in Lawrence when the kids' babysitter went inside to shop and left them behind.
Jason Mandel said he saw the 4-year-old waving at him from the back seat, but didn't think anything of it at first.
"Conscience took over and I said to myself, 'Well, let me just make sure she is OK,' because nobody was in the car – no parents or anything," Mandel said. "So I went back and knocked on the door. She was not in any distress, but at that point I noticed there was an infant seat in the back.
Mandel called the police when he couldn't find the driver of the SUV.
As officers were investigating, the children's caretaker, 44,-year-old Shuron Scott, came out of the store.
Police said she was inside the store between 10-20 minutes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the inside temperature of a car can rise close to 20 degrees in 20 minutes. Wednesday's high was 82.
"The weather just kind of contributes to some of the circumstances, perhaps, but just leaving children unattended like that for any length of time, especially that young, that's just an inherently unsafe act," said Lawrence Police Captain Gary Woodruff.
Scott was preliminarily charged with felony child neglect.
Lawrence police gave Mandel credit for calling in the potentially dangerous situation. They say they would rather respond 100 times to a scene that turns out to be nothing than to respond to one tragedy.