Minnesota aunt accused of leaving toddlers in cold car to drink - KMSP-TV

Aunt accused of leaving 2 toddlers in cold car to drink

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A great-aunt was jailed and charged with child endangerment after leaving her 2-year-old and 3-year-old niece and nephew alone in a vehicle while she went drinking.

Lauren Dickover was waiting tables at Lindee's Saloon and Eatery when her manager left work at about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday night, but she quickly returned from the parking lot with a discovery that got everyone's attention.

"She said, 'There's two children in a station wagon. The car is off and the back window is busted open. Whose car is it? We need to find out who this is,'" Dickover recalled.

That manager said she heard a child cough and saw the two tots strapped into their car seats through the dark, tinted windows. The children were alone, locked inside the car while temperatures hovered around 25 degrees. The 3-year-old girl was asking for her "Aunt Sarah."

"Their hands were beet red, and their arms were all pink because they were so cold and really scared," said Dickover. "They had hats on, hoods. They both had shoes and socks. So, it's ok for going to Target but not for staying in a car for how long?"

Employees from Lindee's Saloon brought the kids inside, made them some grilled cheese sandwiches, gave them crayons and coloring paper and helped them to the bathroom.

"We tried to just comfort them as best as possible considering the situation," said Dickover.

Even so, Sgt. Mike Glassberg, with the Hopkins Police Department, says the children were cold to the touch when police arrived.

"Had this person, in my opinion,not played the role of a hero, something very bad could have happened to those children," Glassberg said.

Investigators soon turned their focus on a woman who had left the bar after drinking an "iron butterfly" and "Long Island iced tea. Sarah Philbrick, 55, left in a taxi -- but police say that driver brought her back to the bar because she was too intoxicated to tell him where she lived.

"The only thing she recalled: She thought her two dogs were in the car," said Glassberg.

On Monday afternoon, prosecutors charged Philbrick with two counts of child endangerment. She is currently in the Hennepin County Jail.

At her home Philbrick's husband told FOX 9 the kids were visiting their great aunt from their home in New Ulm. He also said Philbrick is an alcoholic, but he said she's never been arrested before and he hopes this incident will become the turning point to get her the help she needs.

"It's about those kids being ok," said Dickover. "I'm glad I could play a part in it. It's about the kids at the end of the day."

Police confirm both children are fine and back home safely with their parents in New Ulm.

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