LEESBURG – Leesburg Police officers arrived at Via Port mall in response to a 911 call from a mall patron. Christina Bivins was walking through the parking lot of Via Port mall by the food court entrance when she heard crying coming from a van. When she went to investigate, she found a 3-year-old boy inside of a daycare van.
Bivins reacted quickly and was able to get the child out of the van at which point she contacted Leesburg Police.
The van, which belonged to New Center Ministries, Inc. was used for a daycare trip to AMC Theater. New Center Ministries employee, Cheryl Hannah used the van to take a group of children under the daycare’s supervision to watch a movie. Hannah and the other children exited the van and entered the mall leaving the 3-year-old behind.
Emergency Medical Services immediately checked the toddler upon arrival and cleared him medically. The boy was released by EMS to his mother’s custody and is in good condition.
Hannah was arrested and charged with leaving a child under the age of 5 in an unattended vehicle for more than 15 minutes. The remaining children were transported back to the daycare by other daycare employees.
According to a statement released earlier today, Leesburg Fire and Rescue got a temperature reading from inside the van of 117 degrees where the toddler was sitting and 137 degrees on the roof of the vehicle.
“This is almost amazing that the child is OK after spending so much time in a hot van,” said Lt. Joe Iozzi of the Leesburg Police Department. “If the child had fallen asleep or was lying down in the van, it could have been a terrible outcome, but fortunately, the woman (Christina Bivins) came by at the right time and was able to get the child out of the van.”
It has not yet been released whether or not the windows were left open or why the child was left behind.
Hannah was booked at the Lake County Jail and later released after posting a $500 bond.