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Police: Baby left alone in hot car, family members arrested

By: Whitney Burks
By: Whitney Burks

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - As the mercury rises so does the risk of death.

Officials say it should be common sense but each year kids die from being left alone in hot cars, and police say that was almost the case in Pikeville Wednesday afternoon.

Deana and Elvis Keene told police they were only gone a few minutes, but police say that is all it took for their niece's four-month-old baby to be in serious trouble.

"The baby was sweating. It was pretty warm yesterday afternoon, the sun and everything out," said Lt. Aaron Thompson.

Police say the Keenes left the baby alone in a hot car while they went into a grocery store.

"Yesterday it was 85 degrees but with the humidity and the heat index the inside of the vehicle just sky rocketed quickly," said Pikeville Public Safety Director Paul Maynard.

Officials say a car can reach extreme heat levels very quickly.

Within one hour the temperature can increase more than 40 degrees even when it is overcast.

One tool firefighters used to determine the surface temperature inside the Keenes' car is an infrared thermometer.

Mountain News tested it on a car that had been sitting for about 10 minutes without air conditioning on, and it was already 106 degrees on the dash.

The citation shows the temperature of the Keenes' car was more than 120 degrees, and temperatures like that can be deadly.

"It actually can do brain damage. If you have pre-existing medical conditions it can actually affect your respiratory or your circulatory system," said Pikeville Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Lindsey.

Police say the infant was sweating profusely and had red skin.

The baby was taken into protective custody at the hospital, and both Keenes were arrested.

The Keenes are charged with wanton endangerment.

Deana Keene is also charged with public intoxication, and Elvis Keene is facing a charge of possession of an illegal legend drug.

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