California authorities arrested three adults Wednesday after allegedly finding five kids in an unventilated crate attached to a pickup truck with outside temperatures nearing 100 degrees, according to local reports.
Police pulled the vehicle over in the city of Needles after receiving a call from someone who became concerned about the children’s safety after seeing the vehicle on Interstate 40 near the Fenner Rest Area, the Press-Enterprise reported.
The children ranged from 1 to 13 years old and were not properly restrained in the moving vehicle, Fox 11 reported. The crate reportedly had no ventilation, air conditioning or water inside.
Children left inside hot vehicles can fall victim to heatstroke.
That can be deadly, with children dying under such circumstances about once every 10 days, according to AAA. Most vehicular heatstroke deaths occur because a distracted parent or caregiver forgot about a quiet child in the backseat – not criminal negligence.
And even outside temperatures in the low 70s can be fatal for children, whose bodies can heat up up to five times faster than adults, according to AAA.
Police also found illegal drugs, paraphernalia and a shotgun.
Three adults from Sacramento — Kenneth Standridge, 40, Zona Brasier, 39, and Aushajuan Hardy, 41 – were arrested on child endangerment charges.
It’s unclear what relationship the children share with the suspects, but they were placed in the care of San Bernardino County Children and Family Services, according to the Press-Enterprise.
Standridge and Hardy both have criminal histories.
Standridge faces additional charges for allegedly possessing a weapon as a felon and suspicion of DUI, while Hardy was held without bail on a felony warrant from his home city.
Brasier’s bail was set at $150,000, and Strandridge’s at $75,000.
The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.