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Mom leaves kids in car outside Wawa, and police charge her

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Chesterfield Police have charged 25-year-old Lavita Brown with two counts of misdemeanor child neglect.

Police say she left her one and two-year-old children in a running car while she ran into the store.

Brown said she ran into the Wawa on Iron Bridge Rd. to grab candy, drinks and cigarettes.

"My car was parked right by the window. I could see my headlights, I couldn't see my kids but I could see my headlights," Brown said.

She said she was inside the store for around two minutes, and was stopped by an officer on her way out. She said the officer noticed the children in the car and after questioning, charged her.

"I wasn't neglecting them. I didn't mean any harm just by running in the store to get candy, drinks, and my cigarettes," she said.

Todd Stone, CBS 6 Legal Expert, said police often times want to know how long you can leave your kids in the car. Stone said there's no black and white rule to the situation, and said it's often times subjective to the officer.

"You look at all the factors, like their age and maturity level and the location and the temperature outside and make a decision about whether it affects their safety," said Stone.

Lavita said she never intended to put her children in danger, and said this incident now serves as a learning experience.

"Whenever I do have to go to the store from now on to avoid any problems I will have them in the store with me at all times. This is a big lesson," she said.


  • Glen Allen

    I hope the Judge will order this woman to get an education on how to raise children. Obviously, by the comments she made, she does not think she has done anything wrong, a fine is not going to do any good here, she needs an education.

    • Amelia L Adair

      WOW…that is all you took from that article? How about lets get her into some parenting classes!!! Education, I agree is a priority, but this girl needs better parenting skills.

  • John

    Maybe she figured that it was safe to leave her kids in the car for two minutes because of the police car and the usual number of police that hang out at WaWa’s.

  • barbara

    better this “authority to over reach” than a kidnapper or carbon monoxide while this mother made her selections, gathered her money/signed her debit card, then waited in line to make her purchases during the time she stated, “I couldn’t see my kids, but I could see my headlights”. Thank GOD the police officer protected these babies.

    • Aaron

      I am in no way condoning what was done but you will not get carbon monoxide poisoning in 2 minutes, or even 10 minutes for that matter, so that is not an issue.

  • aleinva

    I can seeboth sides of the argument. I think the worse could have happenedwhich would have been an opopportunistic criminal hopped in her car and took off with it, with her children inside. Previous poster, Carbon monoxide poisoning would be highly unlikely with the vehicle in an open area. On the other hand, I don’t think two minutes in a store where you can see your car rises to the level of neglect. The babies were in car seats with the heat on. I know how long it cam take to get squirming babies in and out of the car seat on a freezing cold day, she probably thought it was ok to leave them for a couple of minutes. She knows better now and

  • Lee Dalkiewicz

    2 minutes, in the store, with 2 infants left in the car, WITH THE CAR RUNNING??? Only takes 1 second for a thief to jump in the car and drive cannot see your car from where you get your drinks from.. What a moron…….

    • athynz

      That’s assuming the car was unlocked – I always carry a spare key with me if I leave my car running at a store and lock the doors. But sure go ahead and call the woman out without any facts to back it up.

  • donald

    carbon monoxide is possible,read your owners manual,But rare. the real point here is laziness.She wasn’t to lazy to have them though huh?I see this outside grocery stores all the time.They will actually park in the fire lane and go in store to shop with kids in car.Grow up,if you need to shop take your kids with you.In the 70’s- 80’s this was pretty common,not the 80’s anymore lady.

    • Aaron

      Let me state what I stated above.. not condoning this but there is NO WAY that they would have got carbon monoxide poisoning in 2 minutes or even 10 minutes.

      • Mena

        I agree with Kathy. I know I have done this with my son as well. He was 2 strapped down in his car seat, the window was cracked a little it was pouring raining, I had to get gas and only had cash at the time. I wasn’t taking my baby out in the rain to get sick or me slip and fall with him. Let alone drive up to the store, pay and go back to the pump. Someone could have taken my spot. The charge is ridiculous. A lot of people don’t understand.

  • TJ

    I say certain factors would determine if the police was overreacting, or it was justified. I honestly believe the overreacting part. especially if she took certain precautions before making a two minute run inside..but hey, everyone has their own view of this situation..

  • SM

    Um, that code section they wrote her under doesn’t have a misdemeanor in it. It’s only felonies. This doesn’t make any sense.

  • Jack

    I grew up in Chesterfield and am 70 now. Welcome to the Chesterfield Gestapo that the Police Department has become. Arresting this woman was insane on the officers part. He could have just “talked” to her but chose to make a name for himself with his Nazi superiors.

  • CP

    “Two minutes” come on! What was she playing, Supermarket Sweep? I hope the cop gets a copy of the surveillance video from the store to show exactly how long she was in the store.

  • Lindsey

    The kids are one and two! They shouldn’t ever be left alone in a car no matter the time you’ll be inside.

  • Paula Kennedy

    1 and 2 year old babies….no way. I have never been in and out of a Wawa in less then 2 minutes….ever!!

  • T.Fortune

    Here are you righteous ASS People who have never done this before in your Life ….Yea whatever….I know you all put your babies in the car in your drive way and then think of something you left in the garage or in the house run in get and come back out never to think of the could haves….so stop calling someone a bad parent because of their judgement….

  • mandilife

    I have never been in and out of wawa in 2 mins and the fact that she couldn’t see kids and car was left running ; I believe the officer was correct in giving the ticket. Also the fact she was getting drinks, candy, and cigs. Yes it does take time to get kids out of car and back in but I would never leave mine in a car running. I have a 5 yr old and a 1 yr old and currently pregnant.

  • Rob Roberson

    I tried to call Chesterfield on parents that left thier infants in cars for over 20 minutes and they won’t come out. I was told they can’t do a thing unless the child is harmed…

  • dizzy

    It only takes a split second for someone to walk pass then put a bullet in your head but I don’t spend life worrying about it.all the fearmongering has made this country weak.

  • kathy

    I have done that years ago when my kids were little I would lock the door and dare them to get out of there seats.I know years ago it wasn’t like today you could do that and everything was fine, but,today’s date times are different now so just give them a warning and remind people you can’t do that the ticket and neglect was a bit too much.She probably didn’t think at the time.I wouldn’t say she neglected them cause now a days anything you do is considered neglect! For those of you who think neglect,just remember your parents or grandparents did the same thing with you even if you don’t admit it I’m sure they did!

  • Marie

    Is this really the way to react to this situation? The mother who may not have thought things through to all the bad stuff that could happen (because some of us still want to believe people are decent) left her kids in a parked running car to go into a store and grab 3 items. This didn’t take 5 mins and she was probably thinking of being quick without risking a cold or flu to her children or maybe they were sleeping and have been sick and she didn’t want to wake them. Mothers all over have done it and many probably will continue to do it. It’s not our jobs as citizens to pass judgment on this woman for what she did but to learn a lesson that you never do know what could happen if you do choose to leave your children. There are countless court cases where parents have been found guilty and had jail time to serve. I have left my children in a running call while I paid for gas or even ran back into a restaurant after the drivethrew messed up my order. Doors were always locked and I could see my car all the way around. I don’t feel that I am a bad mother or lazy. I made a choice to leave my sleep/sick/warm child in the car which I as a parent determined was safe. All I hope is that next time she and other mothers will think twice before making a quick run into a store, post office, etc.

  • Angel2

    I’ve been guilty of leaving my kids in the car…..locked, no key in ignition. Parked directly in front of store, where I could see car and kids. I stopped doing that when I heard about a guy who broke the rear window and stole a child while her mother saw the whole horrible incident from inside the store.


    Big brother looking for money. Court costs, Dr reports and such.
    They dont arrest mothers when they leave them with preists.
    She stepped away for a moment, and in site. The money this will
    cost her and her family now could decide between milk or water
    until she recovers her expensces. The people that write these
    stupid laws and enforces them have nannies at home taking
    care of their kids. They dont live in the real world, they live in
    Brandermill. Private schools and such. Get real. Cops scared
    the kids to, i’m sure.

  • wILKS

    I usually don’t but this time I will, AND I AM !!!
    If you don’t have anything to say then don’t say nothing at all, don’t call, don’t text, don’t comment on any post or IG pic. Let me be clear in some of the comments, let’s not forget where we came from and also things that you did with your own children, some people who have left negative comments have done worst like leaving there children in the HOUSE ALONE for HOURS, allowing the wrong person to be around there children putting their children in danger. She takes care of her children without asking for anyone else help. You are not there when she needs help, you don’t offer to watch her children when she work, and you don’t pay any bills of hers!!!! SO THERE IS NO NEED FOR YOU TO HAVE ANY INPUT ON THINGS NOW!! THOSE BOYS ARE HEALTHY AND WELL TAKEN CARE OF WITHOUT EVERYONES HELP, SO LET IT BE DONE WITH OUT YOUR negative COMMENTS!!!
    Lil cousin you know we both can tell stories about many people who have left bad comments but we shall not fall low to their level. DO what you have been doing YOUR FAMILY is what you got it you need it! Those boys couldn’t have a better Mommy Love you

  • RFoxx

    I know this young lady have learned a very vauable lesson.People have left their children in schools and thought they were safe

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