A Delaware County trade-school instructor discovered much to his horror yesterday that he'd left his 14-month-old grandson in the backseat of his sweltering car while he went to work for several hours.
The child was breathing but unconscious when police arrived to the scene, Marple Township Police Chief Thomas Murray Jr. said.
"They rushed him to Bryn Mawr Hospital, and they were working on getting his core body temperature down," Murray said.
The child was later transported to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where a spokewoman last night declined to disclose his identity or his condition at his family's request.
Police are unsure just how long the grandfather, identified by one officer as Edward Kanterman, had left the child in the car while temperatures climbed to the high-90s. Murray estimated that it was at least several hours. A temperature reading taken in the car after the doors had been opened read more than 110 degrees, according to police.
"But it was probably substantially higher than that," Murray said.
Kanterman typically picks the child up in the morning and takes the tyke to day care. But yesterday, he apparently forgot the boy was with him when he parked in the Lawrence Park Shopping Center and went to work at the CHI Institute, at Lawrence and Sproul roads, in Broomall, Murray said.
When Kanterman, who one police officer estimated to be in his late 50s to early 60s, went to retrieve something from his car about 1:20 p.m., he realized he'd left his tot inside.
"It certainly doesn't happen very often," Murray said. "Unfortunately, for this 14-month-old, it happened to him."
Murray said that Marple detectives are investigating and will confer with the Delaware County District Attorney's Office to determine any criminal charges.
The case is eerily similar to that of Calvin Howell, whose 21-month-old granddaughter died in 2002 after he forgot that she was in his car when he went to work in Philadelphia on a day that hit 96 degrees.
He, too, usually dropped his grandchild off at day care. Howell was charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.
State Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, then serving as a Municipal Court judge, dropped the charges against Howell, calling the incident "a very freak situation."
The charges were later reinstated by a Common Pleas Court judge.
In 2003, Howell pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced to five years' probation and 100 hours community service. *