BENNINGTON >> A Hoosick Falls, N.Y. woman is facing charges for allegedly leaving her young grandchild in her unlocked and running car while she was in a local store.
Jean M. Luciani, 73, pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a child. She was released under the condition she not leave any child in a car alone under any circumstances.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Thalia Hudson, she was dispatched to the Kmart parking lot on Nov. 13 at approximately 1:30 p.m. for multiple reports that a woman left a small child alone in a running car.
When Hudson arrived on scene, she found a white Lexus with New York license plates parked in the fire lane and a woman, later identified as Luciani, at the rear passenger side door with the child. Luciani allegedly told police the child was her grandson, who at the time was just under 18 months old.
Hudson told Lucien that authorities had received multiple reports that a child was left alone in a running vehicle for no fewer than 20 minutes. Luciani said that was ridiculous and that she "ran in the store to get a plastic container for five minutes." She allegedly said the child was sleeping and that she did not want to wake him up.
In her affidavit, Hudson noted that, during their interaction, Lucien did not seem to understand "the potential danger she subjected her grandson to." Lucien allegedly asked Hudson if she had "anything better to do than this," said the incident was not a big deal and that she needed to leave. Hudson then told Luciani she was under arrest.
Witness statements from a passerby and two Kmart employees said that Luciani was in the store for at least 20 minutes, and all three were worried about the child's safety.
Kmart employees wrote that customers reported seeing the child in the car seat and said the store should call the police. One employee wrote that she went out to the running car, opened the door and tried to calm the crying child. The employee said Lucian saw her at her car, came out and grabbed the baby before going back inside to pay for her purchase. According to the the affidavit, Luciani called Hudson on Nov. 17 and said she was sorry for her actions, that she realized it was a big mistake and that she cares for her grandson a great deal.
Luciani is scheduled to appear on Jan. 4, 2016 for a calendar call and is represented by Public Defender Frederick Bragdon.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979