Four GU students find toddler locked in car while her dad was intoxicated

SPOKANE, Wash. – A 27-year-old man was arrested for abandoning a dependent after he reportedly left his toddler in his car while he partied near North Division Street.

According to court documents, four Gonzaga University students noticed a car in the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel with a young child inside and alerted campus security.

A campus security officer told police he saw a man, later identified as Shad E. Smith, park his vehicle in the hotel parking lot. The security officer said there was a child, approximately three years in age, asleep and buckled into a booster with a sweatshirt over her.

Court documents state the windows of the car were rolled down and the security officer noted the temperature at the time was 39 degrees.

Spokane Police Officer Walker responded and took statements from the witnesses, and noticed the child was scared and confused once awake.

"Very surprised, we saw her in there and we kind of looked around to see if any parent was nearby if there was anyone, it was just in there," said Jacob Dizon, one of the GU students who found the toddler. "The windows were down, she was just sleeping in there and we were very shocked by that."

"It was like 30 degrees too, and so the windows were down, so I feel like she could have gotten sick, she was probably very cold in there," Dizon said. "That's totally out of her hands. That shouldn't be a situation she gets put into, but I'm glad we were there to call someone for help."

According to court documents, Smith’s wallet and identification were found in the front passenger seat and the vehicle was registered under his name. Documents state Smith returned back to the vehicle prior to police arrival and appeared to "be intoxicated, stumbling all over" and did not appear to be carrying the child.

Child Protective Services now have custody of Smith’s child.

Smith made his first appearance in court for the abandonment charge on Monday. He is currently being held on a $150,000 bond and will be back in court on May 23. Smith has one previous felony, as well as a pending hit and run charge in district court.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article said Smith was consuming alcohol, but the type of intoxication referenced in court documents has yet to be confirmed. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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