HANOVER, Md. — A North Carolina man was charged with leaving his 98-year-old mother in a hot car while he gambled inside a casino, police said Tuesday.
Dwight Ridgeway McGinnis, 67, of Raleigh, N.C., is accused of leaving his mother in his red Ford truck for nearly five hours Monday as temperatures outside rose to 83 degrees, Anne Arundel County police said. They received a call a little after 6:30 p.m. ET from a passerby who saw the woman inside the car in a Maryland Live! Casino parking garage with one window partially lowered.
The woman uses a wheelchair and is incapable of providing basic needs for herself, police said. The only evidence of food or drink in the vehicle was an empty soda can.
When initially approached, the woman seemed confused and responded incoherently to an officer's questions, police say. As the conversation continued, she became more coherent and was able to assist authorities in locating her son.
Officers reached McGinnis on his cell phone around 7:15 p.m. and he returned to his truck, police said.
McGinnis was charged with one count of vulnerable adult neglect. He also was served with an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on a charge of driving with a suspended license.
Though children 4 and younger are more susceptible to heat stroke than adults, when outside temperatures are in the low 80s, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in 10 minutes even when windows are rolled down 2 inches, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Death happens when a person's internal temperature reaches 107 degrees.
Even when it's in the 60s outside, a car's interior can heat to 110 degrees in about an hour.
Officers gave the woman water and summoned emergency medical technicians to examine her. Medical officials didn't see a need to take her to a hospital.