Tennessee man left child alone in hot car while he bought cocaine: cops

A Tennessee man was charged with felony child neglect Wednesday after he allegedly left his 23-month-old great nephew unattended inside a hot car in a fast food restaurant parking lot and went to buy cocaine, police said.

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Shawn Barber, 42, left the child inside his vehicle outside a Jack in the Box in Nashville on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Employees brought the child inside the restaurant, telling police they found him unattended in the vehicle, which had the windows rolled down and keys still inside, FOX 17 Nashville reported.

Responding police officers said they questioned Barber once he returned to the vehicle. He allegedly admitted leaving the child alone and went to another location to buy cocaine.

The child’s mother told police Barber came to her apartment to babysit her son while she left to pick up her other children from school. Barber drove off with the child after she left, according to FOX 17. The Nashville Fire Department transported the child to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to be evaluated. He was unharmed, authorities said.

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Temperatures reached as high as 90 degrees in Nashville on Wednesday, according to Time and Date. The National Security Council reports 47 children across the country perished in hot car deaths in 2019. Last year marked the highest year on record for hot car deaths in two decades after 53 children died from vehicular heatstroke.