Man Arrested In Catoosa Casino After Leaving 7-Year-Old In Car

Tuesday, July 12th 2011, 8:03 am
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

Editors note: Earlier versions of this story included a report from law enforcement that security officers had found the boy in the car, but we have since learned the boy was found wandering in the parking lot.

CATOOSA, Oklahoma -- A man was arrested for leaving a boy inside a hot car while he was inside the Hard Rock Casino in Catoosa late Monday night.

Police say David Wright, 61, was intoxicated when he left his girlfriend's seven-year-old grandson inside the car with the windows rolled up.

The boy told police he got hot and scared so he got out of the car and was walking around the Hard Rock's parking lot.

When casino security spotted the boy, they immediately went to him, gave him a bottle of water to drink and called Catoosa police. When they asked him what happened, he told them, "Papa left me here."

Police say there was liquid inside the car, but nothing the boy could drink.

"There was no food, no juice, no water. There were two open bottles of whiskey or liquor with him," said Lieutenant Andrew Wimberley.

They arrested 61-year-old David Wright. News On 6 found records that show he's had four drunk or drugged driving convictions. His most recent one was in Tulsa County in 2008.

He got out of prison in January of 2009.

Now, he faces charges of child endangerment, resisting arrest and public drunk.

"It's unacceptable," Lieutenant Wimberley said.

The Department of Geosciences say 20 children have died in hot cars in the U.S. so far this year.

Two of them were in Oklahoma in Cyril and Norman. Both happened in July and were cases where a child went missing. Both were later found in cars, one in the trunk.

7/7/2011 Related Story: 8-Year-Old Cyril Boy Found Dead In Car Trunk

An animation from General Motors showed on an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a car rose 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes; within 20 minutes, the temperature was 109 degrees and by 30 minutes, it was 114 degrees.

It kept creeping up to 118 degrees inside the car by 40 minutes and, by the time an hour has elapsed, the car was 123 degrees.

That's with an outside temperature of 80 degrees and our days have been much hotter than 80.

The research showed that cracking a window didn't make much of a difference in the temperature rise.

"Do not leave a child of any age in a vehicle during summer or any time, night or day, regardless," Lieutenant Wimberley said.

Catoosa police were finally able to track down the boy's grandmother Tuesday afternoon.

There's a hearing in Rogers County court Wednesday to determine what happens next with the boy.

He's in DHS custody for now.

Police say if a child goes missing, always look in water first, like pools and ponds, then cars second, including the trunk.