NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A good Samaritan came to the rescue of a baby trapped in a car after the mother allegedly went to the gym.
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, the Crunch gym is right next to a day care center, but police say 46-year-old Hiroko Kurihara left her 4-month-old in her hot car while she worked out.
Luckily an assistant teacher from the Children’s Corner happened to be in the parking garage.
“I just kept hearing a baby cry so I’m like, let me look around in these cars. And that’s what I did, and I found a baby by itself in a car,” said Alicia Reid.
Reid said no one was around and she was scared.
“My biggest fear was that the baby was gonna die in the car. That was my biggest fear because I know a car heats up like an oven,” she said.
Reid said the windows were all the way up and “I called my boss… I’m like ‘come outside, somebody left a baby.’ And when she got out here she was like let’s call the cops.”
Police and firefighters brought in tools to try to rescue the child.
“They tried to open the door. It wasn’t working. Eventually the mom came,” Reid said.
“They yelled at her to open up the door and immediately took the things out of her hands and placed her in handcuffs,” said Jen Pennucci, director of Children’s Corner.
Authorities then took the baby to an ambulance.
“You could tell she was in distress. She was sweaty when they took her out of the car,” said Pennucci. “She was relatively happy once we started talking to her.”
Police said it could have been much worse if Reid hadn’t been there.
“But also that she got involved. Some people, they’d just walk away,” said Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawick.
“I’m happy I was there. I’m happy I went on my break at the time,” said Reid.
Reid said she normally goes to her car on break to make a phone call or grab a snack. She said she only heard the baby’s muffled screams from the car because her’s was only two parking spaces away, Rincon reported.
Kulhawick said sadly it wasn’t the first time Kurihara had done this.
“It looks like she had attended another class earlier in the morning and also most likely left the child unattended while she exercised during that class as well,” said Kulhawick.
No one was home at Kurihara’s address, but the car was parked outside. Now, the question remains — what was she thinking?
“I can’t really explain it. It’s one of those things that a reasonable person would never even consider doing,” said Kulhawick.
Especially with a day care center right next door.
“All she would have had to do is ask. We’re very flexible and can meet any parent’s needs,” said Pennucci. “So it breaks my heart that she wouldn’t even think to stop by and just knock on the door and say ‘can you help me?'”
Kurihara is charged with risk of injury to a minor and leaving a child unattended.
The child was released to the father and the state’s Department of children and Families is investigating.