Arkansas Man Arrested for Leaving Son in Hot Car as Punishment

August 22, 2019 Updated: August 22, 2019

An Arkansas man faces criminal charges after police said he kicked his 10-year-old son in the genitals and forced him to sit in a hot car as punishment.

Briton Odell Miller, 41, of Little Rock, is facing a charge of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, reported KATV.

Witnesses cited by the ABC affiliate said Miller cursed and screamed at his son inside an Applebee’s restaurant on Tuesday, Aug. 20, kicking him under the table in the genitals.

According to witnesses and surveillance footage, Miller then dragged his son out of the restaurant, WDHD reported, and left the boy locked inside with the windows rolled up, telling him to “act right.”

Police told KATV the victim’s 12-year-old brother said their father routinely forced them into the car as punishment.

The boys were unharmed and released into the custody of Miller’s girlfriend, the report said.

Miller was booked into the Pulaski County jail.

Arkansas Mom Arrested for Leaving Baby in Hot Car

The incident follows the arrest of an Arkansas mother and another woman after an unsupervised infant was left locked inside a hot car without air conditioning on Aug. 11, at a Neighborhood Market in Pea Ridge, according to the Pea Ridge Police Chief Lynn Hahn.

Around 2:30 p.m. the Pea Ridge Police Department received a call regarding the child locked in the hot car.

Prior to first responders arriving on the scene a group of concerned bystanders broke the window of the car and started working to cool down the infant, Hahn said.

“He was really hot. He had glass all over him but he wasn’t crying,” said Michelle Holt, according to KFSM.

Michelle and her husband Nathaniel Holt said they helped remove the baby from the car by using a brick to break the window.

“He was foaming at the mouth and he was spitting and I just kept telling him that he was really strong and just to stay awake,” Michelle Nathaniel said.

The Holts were cited in the report as saying they took the baby inside of the store by the deli in hopes of trying to cool him down as they waited for first responders.

The child was transported to Children’s Medical Center and has been listed in stable condition.

Children Heatstroke Deaths

According to Kids and Cars, 132 children died from non-traffic fatalities in 2018. Of those, 52 died from heatstroke. The data was for children 14 years old or younger.

“These data vastly underestimate the true magnitude of non-traffic fatal incidents involving children,” the group stated.

According to the No Heat Stroke organization, 32 child vehicular heatstroke deaths have taken place so far this year and 829 have taken place since 1998.

In an examination of the causes of the deaths conducted by the group, it was found that 54 percent of the deaths stemmed from a caregiver forgetting the child. Another 26 percent of deaths came after a child gained access to the car on their own, while about 19 percent of the deaths came after they were knowingly left by a caregiver in the vehicle.

Cars are seen in a parking lot in Palm Springs, California on April 13, 2015. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The U.S. National Safety Council said that caregivers can be aware of the deaths and take action. “Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these deaths. Even on relatively mild days, temperatures inside vehicles still can reach life-threatening levels in minutes, and cracking the window doesn’t help,” the council stated on its website.

“The National Safety Council advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access, and teach them that cars are not play areas. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last glance.”

Jan Null, a San Jose State professor and former meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told SFGate that the temperatures inside vehicles heat up rapidly, with the air rising about 19 degrees over whatever the outside temperature is in the first 10 minutes and rising another 10 degrees in the next 10 minutes.

What’s more, Null said the bodies of small children heat up three to five times faster compared to adults. “So, while you and I could be in a car that’s, say, 109 degrees, an infant or small child would be to the point of entering heat stroke,” he said.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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