Four-Year-Old Girl Locked in Impounded Car Overnight After Mother Was Arrested for DUI

Temperatures that night reached as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

A four-year-old girl was reportedly locked in an impounded vehicle overnight in freezing temperatures after an inadequate search of a seized minivan.

Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works commissioner Jeff Polenske stated at a Tuesday press conference that a woman driving a minivan was pulled over and arrested by the Milwaukee Police Department for driving under the influence late Monday night. She had a 10-month-old child and the four-year-old in the vehicle with her, and police extracted the younger of the two, but failed to pull the four-year-old from the minivan, despite the MPD’s code of conduct stating that “vehicles shall be thoroughly searched for items of apparent value.”

The minivan was then towed to an impound lot with the child still inside. She would spend the next eight hours in the vehicle, during a night when temperatures reached as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit, before an officer at the impound lot heard cries for help coming from the van.

“Apparently the girl was very upset and crying, something that none of us would like to have happen to any of our children,” said Polenske. “We want to make sure it never happens again. If there’s something more that we can be doing, more thorough exam of that vehicle, we will be doing that in the future.”

DPW has admitted fault, though according to WTMJ Milwaukee, the MPD has yet to do the same.

“The Milwaukee Police Department is grateful that the child was located unharmed,” stated the MPD in a release. “MPD is currently seeking criminal charges against the driver who was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. We will provide additional information in the upcoming days regarding this investigation.”