FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An error in judgment has one New Jersey mother facing years behind bars.
Natalie Akselrod, a mother of five from Fair Lawn, left her twins in a van that rolled into a moving car. She spoke out Tuesday so other moms don’t make the same mistake.
“This was a momentary lapse of judgment…nevertheless I should not have left them even for that second,” Akselrod told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Akselrod said she made the mistake of leaving her 6-month-old twin boys, Asher and Neftali, in her mini-van for a split second as she ran into a CVS to get a prescription for one of one the boys.
When she came out, the van had rolled back into a passing car in the parking lot.
“First thought was ‘Are they okay?’ and they were. They were perfectly fine,” Akselrod said. “I understand I was at fault.”
The 36-year-old was charged with child endangerment, a second-degree crime that carries a five- to 10-year prison sentence. While she said she had the keys, police said the car was left in neutral.
“Another witness who saw what happened, saw that there were two babies in the car and took the babies out of the car to make sure they were okay,” Sgt. Derek Bastinck said.
The Division of Youth and Family Services was called to the scene. Social workers released the twins to a friend and then to the mother.
Akselrod said she wants people to know the circumstances behind what happened. She said one of the twins was in the emergency room all night, suffering from an ear infection.
“He was finally asleep. It was the first time he closed his eyes in 24 hours. He was miserable and I said ‘I’m just going to run and just going to put the script on the counter,'” she said. “I am a very, very careful mother. My kids know that it’s safety first — I’m super dedicated as a mother.”
Attorney Stephen Schwartz said he will try to have the charges dismissed.
“She has a large mountain to climb here and this happens in cities and towns all across America — moms have errands to run,” he said.
But Askelrod said it is something she’ll never do again and she’s talking to warn other mothers.
Akselrod will be in court Wednesday. She said she’ll plead not guilty to the charges.
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