A Bergen County Sheriff’s officer smashed a van window to rescue a young child left alone in a sweltering vehicle at a store parking lot Thursday, officials said.
Officer Rich Carrion was working on a traffic assignment when an employee at Costco alerted him to the child around 4 p.m., according to sheriff’s spokesman Anthony Cureton.
Carrion noticed the child was “sweating profusely” and crying in the car seat, Cureton told NJ Advance Media. The officer used his baton to smash the window and reach the child.
The officer estimated it was at least 80 degrees in the van, according to Cureton.
The child, whose age and gender were not immediately available, was released from Hackensack University Medical Center and turned over to the father, the spokesman added.
Authorities charged the child’s mother, Chaeyoung Lim-Kim, with child endangerment. Cureton said. Her age and hometown were not immediately available.
Cell phone video of the scene shows two men apparently trying to pull open the window before Carrion arrives and smashes it open. A second sheriff’s officer can be seen comforting and holding the child.
Rafael Rodriguez told NJ Advance Media he took cell phone video of the incident Thursday afternoon. Rodriguez said he had tried to reach through the slightly open window to pry it down, but he was unable do so.
“I was trying to force my way into the window but I couldn’t get my arm through,” Rodriguez said. “The child was hot and sweaty and crying.”
Initially, Rodriguez said, the crowd believed another couple was the child’s parents who had been locked out of the car. But when another woman showed up with another child and a cart filled with groceries, they realized she was actually the child’s mother, he said.