Mother arrested for leaving young children in hot car

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — A local woman accused of leaving her three children in a hot car is in jail.

In an interview, Officer Stephen Johnston described the moment he found the boys panicking inside the car

“The kids were jumping around in the car,” Johnston said.

Johnston walked Channel 2’s Tom Regan through his steps to rescue the three children who were left in a locked Toyota coupe early Saturday evening.

Police said the child's mother, Loleatha Stallworth, 40, of Powder Springs, went into a store to buy a gift and left her children, a 2-year-old and twin 4-year-old boys, in the car with the temperature climbing fast.

Concerned calls came in to 911 dispatchers.

Caller: The windows are up in the car, there's no adults nowhere.

Operator: Is the vehicle running?

Caller: No, the little boy has the keys in his hand.

Caller: I don’t want to go an approach them, but we are are sitting here watching. Hoping they're not going to have a heat stroke before somebody gets here.

“The children were sweating profusely, (their) shirts were drenched, they were obviously in panic mode,” Johnston said.

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He send an explorer officer to retrieve a lock out kit to open the car, but in the meantime told one of the children how to hit the unlock button.

“The 2-year-old came to the window, I asked if he could hit it, he hit it, and I was able to open the door and get the kids out and give water,” Johnston said.

After pulling the children out, he checked the temperature inside the car.

“It was 101.3 degrees, and that was after the door had been open a few minutes. So there is no telling what it was before I actually opened the door,” Johnston said.

He said the children were in sweltering car for about 20 minutes. He scolded their mother when she came outside.

“I kind of laid into her,” Johnston said. “I asked her, 'Don't you watch the news? I couldn't believe someone would leave their kids in the car, especially that young."