Vehicle check

Purcell Police Cpl. Joshua Van Oort looks into a parked vehicle as summer temperatures ramp up in the city. On July 9 Sgt. Jerome Hayes rescued two young children from a locked car in the Walmart parking lot.

It is July in Oklahoma and that means it is hot.

On July 9, Purcell Police Sgt. Jerome Hayes was in the Walmart parking lot when he heard a car alarm sound nearby.

The alarm stopped, but a few seconds later started up again.

Hayes investigated and found a 2011 Honda parked in a space close to the store’s north entrance.

The Honda’s doors were locked, the engine turned off and the windows rolled up. Inside were two children – a 21-month-old girl and a boy, 4.

It was 4:39 p.m. and the temperature was typical July – 93 degrees with a heat index of 104 degrees, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Hayes called for backup, but was able to get the boy to unlock the doors before other officers arrived.

As Officer Dakota Norman arrived, he saw a woman running toward the car where Hayes was standing.

When asked why she left the children alone in the hot car, Hotona Smith, 25, of Wanette, replied the 4-year-old was “being a pain.”

Det. Sgt. Scott Stephens, the department’s public information officer, said Smith told Hayes she’d gone into the store to check on an order.

She said she was gone for just a short time, although store video revealed she was inside the air-conditioned store for at least 10 minutes.

Smith called her husband who had his father pick up the children.

Police arrested Smith and she was booked into the McClain County Detention Center.

On Friday, prosecutors charged her in McClain County District Court with leaving unattended children in a vehicle, a misdemeanor.

Smith posted $10,000 bond. Her next court appearance will be at 9 a.m. July 25.

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