FALLS CHURCH, Va. - A mother has been arrested after authorities said she left her three children in a hot car while she went to work in Falls Church, Virginia.
Fairfax County police said they found the children, ages 5, 6 and 7, suffering from heat exhaustion inside the vehicle in a parking lot in the 5600 block of Columbia Pike at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Officers said the interior temperature of the vehicle reached as high as 150 degrees. Authorities stated the children were in the car for at least 45 minutes and one child punched a hole through a taped-up window to get air into the vehicle.
Alexa Faulkison, 26, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony cruelty to a child. Faulkison had recently started a job at a law office as a filing clerk and was responsible for running documents back-and-forth to court, according to her employer, attorney Sam Hasan.
"I think her children were not enrolled in school. She just moved her or her lease just started, her babysitting fell through and I think she probably thought she could keep the kids with her in the car as she went back-and-forth to court," Hasan explained. "Don't get me wrong, it was terrible judgment, but I don't think she believed she'd be out of the car for that long. I think she's a very frazzled mother, she's a young mother and she has three young children she's trying to get into school."
Hasan, who said Faulkison had worked at his office for about six weeks, stated he would've let Faulkison bring her children inside with her if he was at the office or was aware of the situation.
Authorities said it's never OK to leave children or animals unattended in a car, no matter how quickly you believe you'll be back to your vehicle.
"On a 93 degree day your car in 20 minutes can be 120 degrees so it was 85 degrees that day," Pfc. Courtney Young with the Fairfax County Police Department said. "Even though it's fall it can still get very hot in your car so do not leave children or animals in your car, even for just a quick errand because you never know what's going to happen. You may be prolonged on an errand and then it's in the triple digits (inside the car)."
FOX 5 attempted to contact Faulkison's family for comment and people who identified themselves as part of her family declined to comment, only stating they were upset about situation.
The children were taken to the hospital to be examined and and reportedly doing OK. They have been left in the care of their step-father, according to officials.
Faulkison was being held without bond and is due back in court on Nov. 6.