A 23-year-old Cleveland man who left his 14-month-old son locked in the car while he was shopping at Crocker Park is to appear Tuesday in Rocky River Municipal Court.

Joshua Hernandez faces charges of endangering children and possession of marijuana stemming from the June 8 incident. He went shopping for about 45 minutes before returning to his car and finding police there.

“He said he just forgot the child was there,” said Capt. Gerald Vogel of the Westlake Police Department.

Crocker Park security found the baby when they checked the car because it was parked illegally in the Crocker Park Main Street garage and called police at 12:30 p.m. A Crocker Park customer had told security about the illegally parked car, but hadn’t seen the child, security said.

All the car windows were closed, but a sun roof was slightly open, police said.

The outdoor temperature at the time was between 70 and 75 degrees with 50 percent humidity. A baggie of marijuana was in the car as well, police said.

The boy was crying when police unlocked the car to get him fresh air, Vogel said. Paramedics took him to St. John Medical Center in Westlake.

“This could have been a tragedy, but fortunately the baby didn’t have any health problems as a result of the incident,” Vogel said.

While police were still at the car, Hernandez returned with an Apple Store bag in his hand.

“He admitted he had parked the car and just said he had completely forgotten his son was in the car,” Vogel said.

There was no evidence Hernandez was under the influence of anything, Vogel said. Police have not had any prior incidents with him, Vogel said.

Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services was also contacted, as was the child’s mother. She was not with Hernandez and was unaware of the incident, Vogel said. The boy was released to her, and Children and Family Services worked out a plan with her to ensure her son is not left unattended again, Vogel said.

Vogel said people should always exercise caution when shopping with children. He provided this link from Parents Magazine that provides helpful ways for parents to not forget children in the car. parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/7-ways-to-not-forget-your-child-in-the-car/

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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