July 6, 2012
A 33-year-old Wichita man is in jail after, police say, he left three young children in a running car at a Wichita Walmart Thursday night.
The man told police he left the children alone because they were too difficult to handle.
Wichita Police say the three children were 6-years-old, 2-years-old and 8-months old. They say the man pulled into the fire lane of the Walmart in the 6100 block of West Kellogg, left the car running, got out and went inside the store.
Officers who responded to a 911 call from a security guard at the store about 7:45 p.m. Thursday arrived to find the car still parked in the fire lane.
Those officers were waiting when the man who parked the car there came out of the store, which was at least 40 minutes after someone first noticed the kids in the car. The man told police it's too hard to handle three children inside a store.
Audrey Thomas, who was shopping at the same Walmart Friday morning with four children, said it is not that difficult.
"We all have to stay together and keep up with one another that way," she said. "So, what I do, I give them something to carry to the checkout counter. I don't get a basket, so they have to keep up with me."
Louise Williams, a mom, grandma and great-grandma, said she's glad somebody took action to keep the kids safe.
"I'm perfectly glad that somebody actually reported it because that's exactly what I would have done, to say the least," she said.
Police arrested the man, 33-year-old Jason Windorski, on charges child endangerment, drug possession and driving with a revoked license.
Windorski spent six years in prison following an involuntary manslaughter and DUI conviction in 1997.
Parents say the most important thing is shoppers made sure the kids were taken to safety.
"You have to look out for the kids first, regardless," Williams said. "And then you get the story behind it."
"If you can't take them inside that store with you, leave them at home with a responsible person," Thomas said.
Police remind parents it's dangerous to leave children in a running car no matter the type of weather.
"Is it okay if it's 70 degrees out," asked Wichita Police Lt. Doug Nolte. "No, it's not okay if it's 70 degrees out. You don't leave kids unattended in a running vehicle."