OKLAHOMA CITY – A former teacher was arrested for child endangerment after allegedly leaving a 4-year-old boy in a hot car for over 30 minutes.
It happened around 5 p.m. on Thursday night at Penn Square Mall.
According to police, 31-year-old Gregory Rideau, who claimed to be a teacher at Del City High School, was babysitting a 4-year-old boy.
“For whatever reason, parked at the mall, left the 4-year-old in the back seat, turned off the engine, closed the doors and went inside the mall,” MSgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said.
He allegedly stayed inside the mall for over half an hour.
According to the police report, one door was left open, so the boy eventually left the car. Witnesses saw him crying and sweating as he wandered through the parking lot. They moved him into the shade to cool him down while they called the police.
“The fire department checked the internal temperature of the car. They closed the doors and after just a couple of minutes, it was already up to 115 degrees inside that car,” Knight said.
When police questioned Rideau, he admitted that he forgot the boy was in the car, adding that the child was asleep when they got to the mall. He said he had only planned on being inside the mall for five minutes.
“The month of July is the highest month statistically for these types of calls and in Oklahoma, the temperatures in July are always very high. So these are very critically life-threatening calls,” Maj. David Meyer, with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, told News 4 earlier this month.
Nationally, 21 kids have died after being left in hot cars so far this year. Thankfully, there have been no fatal cases in Oklahoma.
“This didn’t turn into a tragic situation and thankfully there were people there to help him and call 911,” Knight said. “Perfect example of see something, say something.”
News 4 left messages with both Rideau and Mid-Del Public Schools. We haven’t heard back.