Pennsylvania Kids Continue To Be Left In Hot Cars in Casino Lots

Pennsylvania State Police have responded to at least 57 instances so far this year of children being left alone in cars at gaming property parking lots.

There is special concern given high, humid temperatures seen during recent weeks
There is special concern given high, humid temperatures seen during recent weeks
Pennsylvania State Police Communication Director Grace Griffaton, pictured above. She warned about the dangers of leaving children unattended in hot cars. (Image: WordPress.com)

There is a special concern given the high, humid temperatures seen during recent weeks. Last week, central Pennsylvania saw high temperatures in the 90s, and a dangerous heat advisory was issued for some of the state.

Especially for now, don’t leave your child in the car,” warns Pennsylvania State Police Communication Director Grace Griffaton. “It’s very hot outside. In 10 minutes, the temperature of the car can rise by 20 degrees.”

Nationally, in total, 12 children died after being left or getting trapped in a hot car in various locations in the US so far this year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the case of Pennsylvania, state troopers are not at casino lots ’round the clock checking for children. They are on duty as time allows.

But if toddlers and children are alone in vehicles and can’t open doors, troopers can break into the vehicle to rescue them.

Each trooper also has training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation to provide immediate help to an injured child. Casinos typically have EMTs onsite to assist troopers who aid children.

Those players who leave children unattended in a car will likely be placed on an exclusion list for Pennsylvania. That means they will not be allowed back into the casino.

Recent Incidents

Jameila Mack reportedly was placed on the list in April after allegedly leaving her 12- and 5-year-old children unattended in a car for two hours while she was at Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino. In addition, Samy Hassan was reportedly placed on the list in July after allegedly leaving an 11-year-old child unattended at Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem for over two hours.

Criminal charges are also possible. Zachary Bohinski, 28, identified as the pastor at Fells Methodist Church in Rostraver, now faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct. That’s after leaving two children in a car unattended at Live! Casino Pittsburgh, as reported by KDKA, a local TV station.

While his daughters were in the car on July 31, Bohinski went into the property’s Guy Fieri’s restaurant and ate an order of “trash can nachos,” KDKA said. Then he won $1,600 on the slots.

Bohinski eventually got back to his car about a half-hour later. Troopers were waiting for him. He said he left the air conditioning on, but police still charged him.

Good Samaritans Protected

In 2019, a new state law went into effect in Pennsylvania that allows good Samaritans to break into a hot car if children are stuck inside with locked doors, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The rescuer will be protected from liability if the child is in imminent danger, the report said.

The civilian rescuer must try to locate the owner of the vehicle owner and emergency responders first. There cannot be excessive force used in the rescue.

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