Two Bucks County lawmakers are sponsoring bills to make leaving children alone in cars a more serious offense.
The legislation was prompted by six incidents this summer where adults were charged with endangering the welfare of children after leaving them unattended in their vehicles while gambling at the Parx Casino on Street Road in Bensalem. A seventh incident occurred Thursday afternoon, when 60-year-old Alexander Salter of Trenton, New Jersey was accused of leaving his 12-year-old grandson in his sport-utility vehicle while he played the slots at Parx. It was parked in the sun and the temperature was in the 90’s, but the boy was unharmed. State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and State Representative Gene DiGirolamo want to raise it from a misdemeanor to a felony if the children are under the age of 13, providing a longer maximum prison term, but their legislation does not call for mandatory jail time. Tomlinson says he wants to let judges bring in family counseling and other social services when such incidents occur. Salter won about $100 playing the slots, but police say he will have to pay his lawyer a lot more than that.