But, apparently, no one noticed a 4-year-old girl who was still inside the van.
The preschooler spent about eight hours trapped inside the vehicle at the tow lot in the early morning hours Tuesday, when temperatures dropped as low as 19 degrees. It wasn’t until about 8:30 a.m. that someone heard her crying, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“Obviously this is something that’s alarming to us,” Milwaukee City Engineer Jeff Polenske said, according to the newspaper. “We definitely don’t want this to happen.”
Polenske said during a news conference that “apparently the girl was obviously very upset and crying — something that none of us would like to have happen to any of our children.”
Polenske said the fire department was called to the scene to examine the girl, who was in “okay” condition; she was transported to a hospital for further evaluation.
Sgt. Sheronda Grant, a spokeswoman with the Milwaukee Police Department, said in a statement Wednesday that the police department is “grateful that the child was located unharmed.”
Grant said the department is “currently seeking criminal charges against the driver who was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. We will provide additional information in the upcoming days regarding this investigation.”
The details surrounding the case are still unclear. Law enforcement officials have not released the driver’s name or said who has custody of the child.
According to the Milwaukee Police Department’s standard operating procedures, “towed vehicles shall be thoroughly searched (including boats, trailers, mobile homes, etc.) for items of apparent value.”
Polenske said the process is to initiate a “cursory review,” looking inside the windows with a flashlight, for instance. But, he said, “in this incident there was a young girl that was missed in vehicle.” He said the standard protocols are now being reviewed.
“Obviously, this shouldn’t happen,” he said, “and we want to make sure that it never happens again.”