Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports that a Town of Persia resident was arrested Sunday afternoon for leaving her one-year old child inside her closed and locked vehicle while she was shopping in a store in the Village of Springville.
At approximately 4:30 PM an employee of the Springville Walmart Store, located at 317 South Cascade Drive, observed that an infant child was locked inside of a car in the parking lot. The employee immediately notified the store manager, who then made an immediate announcement over the store’s PA system. In the meantime, an alert citizen also saw the infant inside of the car, and he broke out a window of the car to allow the doors to be opened, and the child removed.
The infant was taken inside the store, where she was evaluated by paramedics from Rural-Metro Ambulance. It was determined that the child had been inside the hot car for approximately 30 minutes, and that the temperature outside at the time was approximately 75 degrees. Information on the website for the American Veterinary Medical Foundation shows that the temperature inside the closed car may have reached 109 degrees during that time.
The child’s mother, Jessica Hojnacki, age 32, returned to her vehicle, after realizing what she had done. She told the deputies that she was doing some errands, and that she had forgotten that the child was inside of her car. She was subsequently arrested and charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class A Misdemeanor. She was released on an Appearance Ticket, which is returnable in the Village of Springville Justice Court.
In addition, the New York State Child Protective Services Hotline was contacted, and due to the fact that the subject resides in Cattaraugus County, further follow-up will be done by the Cattaraugus County Child Protective Services.
The investigation was conducted by Deputies Robert Ellis, David Barbaritz and Thomas Meredith, and they were assisted at the scene by members of the New York State Police, and several Walmart employees.