Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mom Faces Trial for Leaving Kid in Car

"Treffly Coyne was out of her car for just minutes and no more than 10 yards away.But that was long and far enough to land her in court after a police officer spotted her sleeping 2-year-old daughter alone in the vehicle; Coyne had taken her two older daughters to pour $8.29 in coins into a Salvation Army kettle.

Minutes later, she was under arrest - the focus of both a police investigation and a probe by the state's child welfare agency

The 36-year-old suburban mother is preparing to go on trial Thursday on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,500, even though child welfare workers found no credible evidence of abuse or neglect."

You can read the rest of the story here.

As someone who has left her kids in the car for far longer and for far less noble causes, I think this is crazy. My litmus test is always will I be gone for less than 3 minutes, can I lock the car and am I going into a business where I can still see the car from inside (i.e. dry cleaners, post office).

The car was locked, she was 10 feet away, the kid was sleeping, and she was away for a few minutes at most.

Be honest...would you have done the same thing or would you have taken the kid with you?


Melissa said...

Yes, I would have done it and I have done it like you said, for far less noble causes....stopping in Sheetz to get a soda, run into the bank, etc.... If I can see them, the temperature is not extreme and it is just a few minutes and if they are ASLEEP? Oh, and a toddler? You betcha I'll leave them for a few minutes. But seriously, ONLY if I can still see my car.

I'd love for the police to find and arrest the parents that leave their 4 year olds alone in apartments all day or in 100 degree cars while they buy their drugs and then forget the kids are with them. Yeah. Let's arrest THOSE people.

The Gang's All Here! said...

I heard about this and was outraged. I think we've all done it. I admit, I am more careful and obssessive than some about it, but I'm a safety freak known to confront mothers with improperly installed car-seats. But I've done it and all four are still okay. Not normal, but okay.

melissa d. said...

heck yes-i do it!

i leave my 4 month old in the car usually only if my 4 year old is in there too though.

mostly only to run 5 feet away to the gas station. and only if i can still see my car.

that is crazy that she is in so much trouble!

Anonymous said...

Treffly Coyne is a fine mother who happened to be out on an excursion planned by her children to donate to a charity on December 8th 2007. A lesson we would all do better to be taught by her kids. Unfortunately the Crestwood Police, very concerned about the welfare of her child stepped in. Somehow the officer saw that a sleeping two year old in a warm and safe locked car with the alarm activated would be better off without the mother who cares for her.

The police would not listen to her story, they refused to listen to witnesses, they did not investigate by going into the store to look at the security video.

Instead, they arrested Treffly Coyne, took custody of her two year old child, broke up her family, and most disturbing, the police abandoned three stunned little girls at the Walmart… left them to their own luck, crying on the curb. COMMITING THE VERY CRIME THEY FALSLEY ACCUSED TREFFLY COYNE OF COMMITING.

All because the government decided Treffly Coynes family needed its “protection.”

Her children were never in any danger until the Crestwood Police showed up.

The police chief of Crestwood, Timothy Sulikowski, knew that there was no evidence that Ms. Coyne had done anything wrong, yet he still decided she needed to be charged and prosecuted.


For 97 days a caring and considerate mother was labled a child abuser by the state, investigated by the DCFS or CPS, she paid expensive legal bills and suffered the public humiliation brought on by the unsubstantiated charges of the Crestwood Police. She told newspaper reporters "it felt like the Crestwood Police had a vendetta against my family."

Even when the prosecutor dropped the charges for lack of evidence, the police chief and Mayor Robert Stranczek continued to make public statements against Treffly Coyne.

Treffly Coyne is now suing the Village of Crestwood, police officers James Ciukaj, Forrest Wondolowski and Angel Brudnicki in federal court.

She would have preferred to have won her case in criminal court.

All she asked for was an apology and that the charges would be dropped. Thousands of dollars later, and hundreds of thousands of posts on the internet, the Crestwood Police cannot even give her that.

A terrible mistake was made that night at the Walmart and the Crestwood Police and Mayor Stranczek refuse to acknowlege it. Until they do, all citizens, all families in Crestwood are in danger of these kinds of police abuse.

Her fight is not over. The federal Judge will hear the case and has the power to direct the Crestwood Police to make changes in their policies and procedures.

Hopefully she will prevail in her fight, which is a fight for all of our civil rights. Her case will create stronger boundaries between the family and the police. There is in our country no greater institution than the family. The Crestwood Police department needs to learn that lesson. So do all governmental agencies. None of them stand higher than the family.

It was wrong to arrest that mother and subject her children to witness in terror the actions of the police. The actions of the police that night turned upside down the realities of Coyne's children. "I know know that not all police officers are good people" her oldest daughter said "I used to think that the police were there to help you."

What is more wrong is that the woman has to fight such wrongdoing in federal court.

A victory for Treffly Coyne will be a victory for all American Families. The civil rights she is fighting for our your civil rights as well.