The summer heat wave has claimed another victim. On Monday, Mesa police arrested a man for aggravated DUI, after the 4-month-old girl the man was babysitting reportedly died from heat exposure, AZfamily.com reports.
According to authorities, 19-year-old Shawn Lewis Dale got lost while driving Teonna George-Brown around on Monday evening. Unfortunately, Dale’s car didn’t have air conditioning and the heat proved too much for the infant.
Dale is reportedly a friend of George-Brown’s family and was babysitting for the girl while her parents were at work. According to authorities, Dale told police that the girl’s father had asked him to pick him up from work on Monday night.
Dale placed the girl in the backseat of his car and went to pick up the girl’s dad from work. At some point, however, Dale got lost. Instead of asking for directions, he allegedly drove around for four hours trying to find the man’s workplace.
Temperatures on Monday reportedly exceeded 100 degrees. Without AC, sustained exposure to temperatures that high can be fatal for an infant.
After wandering around lost for four hours, Dale noticed that George-Brown looked ill and was unresponsive. He carried the girl into a Circle K. She was then taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police believe that Dale may have gotten lost and failed to notice the girl’s state because he was impaired while driving. He’s now facing an aggravated DUI charge for the incident.
Under Arizona law, driving under the influence while a child under the age of 15 is in the car, as is alleged in Dale’s case, will get you an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI conviction is punishable by 4 months to several years in prison.
Mesa police didn’t state whether Shawn Lewis Dale had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the incident. Investigators believe that Teonna George-Brown died from exposure to the heat, but are still investigating the case.
- Mesa police: Baby died in car without AC; baby-sitter arrested (The Arizona Republic)
- Aggravated DUI (FindLaw)
- DUI Arrests (FindLaw)
- Dad Passes Out With 2 Kids in Hot Car; Charged with DUI (FindLaw’s Phoenix DUI Law Blog)