Two Palmetto men were found passed out in a car with two unconscious toddlers as the sealed car baked directly in the afternoon sun last Friday, the Sarasota Police Department said.
Police and Sarasota Fire Rescue responded to the 2100 block of Main Street in Sarasota shortly after 1:30 p.m. after a bystander told 911 operators they saw a green Nissan Maxima parked in the sun with the windows rolled up. Two men were passed out in the front seat. Paul A. Houle III, 22, sat in the driver’s seat with his father, Paul A. Houle, 51, next to him. In the back, two toddlers, the younger Houle’s children, were also passed out, sweaty and pale.
Witnesses said they were in the car for about 30 minutes before rescuers came.
The car was found with all its windows rolled up and no air conditioning running, according to a Police Department release. Police said they found two bottles of rum and an open beer in the car. Both men were visibly drunk.
"The defendants were both under the influence of alcohol at the time they were contacted by law enforcement," officers wrote in the arrest report. "The defendants had trouble standing or walking under their own power. The defendants advised that they did not know what was going on."
Officers said the children, ages 2 and 4, were not provided with any food or water by their guardians. Officers found them sweaty, pale and suffering from "heat related issues." All four were transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Both men were charged with two counts each of child neglect. The elder Houle was also charged with possession of a controlled substance after police witnessed him attempt to hide a Dexedrine pill, his arrest report said.
According to representatives from the Sarasota Police Department, the children have since recovered and were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.
Daniel Figueroa IV can be reached at [email protected] Follow @danuscripts