KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man has been arrested after he reportedly left two children in a hot car according to Knoxville Police.
Police say Patrick Blanco left two children under the age of 5 in his car for at least 10 minutes on Tuesday. Officers received a call on just after 2 p.m. saying children had been left in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Save A Lot on North Broadway. As officers arrived, the vehicle began driving away, leading officers to pull it over into a Walgreen’s parking lot.
According to an arrest report, Blanco told police he left the children in the car with the windows open but the car not running. He also reportedly said he “popped” one of the children’s hand after they threw their sandal out of the vehicle. Blanco was arrested.
Officers were then able to view surveillance video from Tobacco King on North Broadway. The video shows Blanco leaving his car at 1:48 p.m. to go into Save A Lot. According to the report, the video appears to show that the car’s windows were possibly left cracked. Blanco is seen returning to his car at 1:58 p.m., 10 minutes later. Witnesses told police that the children were sweating and crying while Blanco was in the store. One witness also told police Blanco struck the children five times.
To give an idea of how hot it was outside at the time officers shared that while they were investigating the incident, Blanco’s phone was left in the car while it was running and three of the windows were completely rolled down. Once it was retrieved, it shut down due to overheating.
According to the report, officers believe Blanco exposed the children to conditions that placed them in imminent danger due to the heat and lack of air conditioning. He has been charged with child abuse/neglect/endangerment.
Also during a search of the vehicle with a K-9, it alerted to the smell of narcotics according to the report. Inside the car, police say they found a black digital scale. Police also say a search of Blanco led to the discovery of $240 and a clear plastic baggie containing 0.56 grams of a clear crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine.