BART police investigators were at the station for hours Tuesday, asking people if they saw someone walking away from the silver Chrysler 300 Monday morning, because the man who was driving that car was walking away from his 4-month-old son in the back seat.
Everett Carey spent his last day inside his father's car with its windows rolled up. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but the boy appears to have died of hyperthermia, or heatstroke.
Investigators were taking down names and numbers and handing out cards. Officers wanted to know what people had seen or heard.
"I didn't hear anything. I'm in that work mode where you're running for the train in the morning. On the way back I had my iPod on so I couldn't hear. I didn't hear anything until I got to my car," BART passenger Richard Gee said.
The father has a permit to park at the lot and is a regular BART rider. He was supposed to have dropped Everett off at a day care provider Monday morning, but when his mother stopped to pick him up in the late afternoon, he was not there. Everett's mother raced to the BART parking lot around 5:30 p.m. only to find her baby strapped in the back seat of a very hot car.
"It could be 60 degrees outside with a breeze, but inside a car with the windows rolled up, that's a very, very bad environment to be in," BART Police Lieutenant Frank Lucarelli said.
The child was rushed to Doctors Hospital in San Pablo, where he was pronounced dead around 6 p.m.
The national organization Kids and Cars says 37 children die every year from hyperthermia after being left in vehicles. The organization, which has successfully worked for the passage of one child safety law, is now working with members of Congress to introduce a bill requiring carmakers to have weight-sensitive and seat-belt monitoring devices to remind parents that a child is in the back seat.
That legislation may be two years away, but inexpensive devices available now could help prevent this type of tragedy.
The State Department of Social Services says there is no rule requiring a day care center to call a parent if their child is not there. As far as possible charges against the father, it is up to the District Attorney.
"In 2002, Kaitlyn's Law took effect, which prohibited anyone from leaving a child six years or younger unattended in a vehicle without supervision from someone who's at least 12 years of older," California Highway Patrol spokesperson Sergeant Trent Cross said.
Child Car Safety Tips:
- After fastening your infant in a child seat, as a reminder, put a teddy bear in the front seat
- Leave your cell phone or briefcase in the back with your child as a reminder