Vehicle was towed with 2 kids still inside near Va. mall

Two children were inside a vehicle that was towed in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday — and police said the driver who left them behind has been charged.

Chaukina Thomas, 26, of Suitland, Maryland, left two kids inside a vehicle parked outside of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The vehicle was running and the air conditioning was on, police told WTOP.

Police were called to the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street shortly after 11 a.m. for reports of a stolen vehicle with two kids inside, according to Arlington police spokesperson Ashley Savage.

Officers figured out that the vehicle had been towed — not stolen.

“The preliminary investigation indicates the tow operator was unaware the children were inside and upon notification, pulled over to check on them,” Savage said.

Thomas was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and released on a summons.

A one-year-old and a three-year-old were inside the vehicle, according to ARL Now, the outlet that first reported on the story. 

The children were in “good health” when police checked on them, Savage said.

WTOP has reached out to the towing company for comment.

The incident comes during a heat wave throughout the D.C. region that’s prompted officials to warn drivers to never leave children or pets inside vehicles.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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