According to prosecutors, police found an intoxicated man passed out in a running car while it was almost 90 degrees outside, endangering a 7-month-old infant passenger.
Preston Michael Baumeister, 27, made an initial court appearance Monday on charges of felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor DUI.
“This was potentially a fatal scenario here,” Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Paul W. Adam told Justice of the Peace David A. Carter.
A woman who identified herself as the child’s mother Monday said her daughter is doing well, despite the child’s temperature reaching 108 degrees.
Charging documents say that police arrested Baumeister on Thursday after responding to the City Vineyard parking lot at about 3:18 p.m. to a report of a person passed out in the driver’s seat of a running vehicle with an infant in the back seat.
It was 88 degrees at the time, court records say.
An officer arrived and found a man, identified as Baumeister, slumped over the steering wheel of a Chevrolet Silverado. The officer reported that he reached into the car and turned its engine off, waking up Baumeister, who was sweating profusely.
Baumeister was handcuffed and put in the back of a patrol car while the officer attended to the infant, who was initially unresponsive, charging documents state.
The child, whose skin was hot to the touch, had a bright red face and a diaper that appeared to be soiled. The officer also observed that the child’s clothing and the padding of the car seat were soaked with sweat.
The officer also reported that the child seat was unrestrained and facing directly into the sun.
Medical personnel arrived at 3:23 p.m. and immediately took the infant to St. Vincent Healthcare for treatment.
A witness told police that the child had been in the car since at least 3 p.m.
The child’s mother spoke to police and said that Baumeister had been abusing drugs. She said he had recently sold several baby items and used the money to buy alcohol, charging documents say.
At the county jail, Baumeister admitted drinking alcohol and taking multiple hydrocodone pills earlier in the day, court records say. A sample of his blood was taken for analysis at the state crime lab.
Adam asked the judge to set Baumeister’s bond at $10,000, and added that the man has 17 misdemeanor convictions and 19 traffic violations.
Noting the nature of the offense and Baumeister’s criminal history, Judge Carter went over the requested amount and set bond at $15,000.
Baumeister is scheduled to appear for arraignment in District Court on Aug. 28.