supervisor

Police: Mother Leaves Toddler Inside 110-Degree Car in Niles

An Evanston woman is accused of leaving her 2-year-old inside of a car on a hot day in north suburban Niles.

Asel Ukbayeva, 24, is charged with one misdemeanor count of endangering the life or health of a child, according to the Niles Police Department.

Officers were called about 3:50 p.m. Tuesday for a child left inside a car in a parking lot located in the 5700 block of West Touhy Avenue, according to Niles police. They met with Supervisor Steven Tran at Fresh Grams Grocery Store, who had made the initial report. 

Tran said the child was locked inside a gray Infiniti, and that he grew concerned when he saw the child was sweating alone inside a car that was not running. 

Tran, who cited his military training when recounting his handling of the incident, said that he simply "took the initiative" and acted to remove the child from the car. 

"I responded to see if he'd respond back," he said. "He looked like he was passed out." 

The supervisor unlocked a door by reaching through a partially opened window, and took the child inside the store and provided water, police said.

"I tried to put him down and he wouldn't let go of me," Tran said. "I'm guessing I'm the only person he trusted at that point." 

The temperature outside was 94 degrees, and the temperature inside the car was estimated to be above 110 degrees, police said. When the mother returned to her car 20 minutes later, she was unable to explain why she left the child in the car.

Tran hopes that the story sends a serious message to parents to keep their children safe. 

"I think everyone should be more aware," he said. "I'm pretty sure it was a mistake. Learn from it." 

The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, and a fine up to $2,500, police said. The child was released to his father, who was called to the scene.

The Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the incident. A spokesperson for DCFS said the department has had no prior contact with the family.

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