CHIPLEY – A Malone man was arrested and now faces child abuse charges after leaving a child in a hot car unattended.

Around noon on October 10, Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a concerned citizen who stated a young child had been left unattended in a car while the driver entered the Hardee’s restaurant. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Dillon Roberts, 20, of Malone.

When the deputy arrived at Hardee’s, Roberts and the child were both found inside the restaurant. The child’s face was red and his clothes were wet due to him sweating profusely.

The deputy questioned Roberts about the situation, at which time Roberts became angry and stated, “What’s the big deal? I cracked the window,” referring to the two back windows that were slightly opened.

“The outcome of leaving a child in a vehicle can be devastating,” said Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews. “We are all aware of the recent news involving deaths caused by leaving children in hot vehicles, however, it can also result in injury or a kidnapping situation.”

During the investigation, it was apparent that with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, Roberts intentionally left the child unattended in an extremely hot vehicle for approximately 20 to 30 minutes as he waited inside in the air-conditioning.

Based on the physical evidence and his statement provided on the scene, Roberts was arrested and charged with cruelty towards a child.

“I cannot express enough how grateful we are that calls were made by citizens who were concerned for the well-being of this child,” Said Crews. “We urge everyone to report any concerning or inappropriate behaviors involving children.”

Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews urges anyone with knowledge of crimes being committed to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 850-638-6111. Tips may also be reported anonymously by calling 850-638-TIPS (8477) or by emailing tips@wcso.us.