Santa Clara County

Prosecutors won't charge Los Gatos man whose son died in hot car

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will not file criminal charges against a Los Gatos man who accidentally left his infant son in the car all day.

The 9-month-old baby died in April from heat stroke. Prosecutors said the child's father was extremely fatigued and mistakenly believed he'd dropped his son off at the babysitter's home on his way to work.

"Like most parents, I know how fatigue can sometimes rob us of common sense and good judgment," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "While we have prosecuted child endangerment cases in the past, this tragedy does not rise to the level of recklessness that both the law and justice require."

To have criminally charged the father, prosecutors would have needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed an "aggravated, flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one resulting from inattention or mistaken judgment."

After extensive review, prosecutors determined the death was not caused by negligence or recklessness, but rather, was an error by a normally conscientious, exhausted father.

On Wednesday, April 16, the man -- tired from only four hours of sleep --
began dropping off his three children at 8 a.m. On Wednesdays he usually only brought his two older children to school, but that morning he was planning to drop off the infant at the babysitter's home because of his wife's new, early morning job.

As the baby slept in the back seat, the father dropped off his older children. Forgetting his baby was in the back, he parked his car on the street at 9 a.m. and then set off in his work truck.  He finished work at 6:30 p.m. When a co-worker went to go start the car, he discovered the baby in the backseat.

The child's father called 911 and tried to provide CPR until medical
personnel arrived. San Jose Fire personnel declared the child dead at 7:24 p.m. The father was cooperative with law enforcement's investigation and was extremely distraught and remorseful.

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