Deputies with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office said a Greece man left his child outside in a car for almost an hour while he was inside a casino.
The spokesperson for Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack is crediting a customer for notifying staff that she heard a baby crying inside a car parked in a lot on Monday. The customer was heading inside, and racetrack officials said staff immediately responded.
"Security and our EMT went out to assess, and did actually find that there was an infant in the car,” said Steve Martin of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack. “At that point, we immediately tried to locate the owner through license plate paging within the facility. After initially not getting any response, we decided to go ahead and retrieve the child from the car to bring it into a warmer area, at the same time calling the authorities on 911.
Between the valets who had the tools to unlock the car, EMT, and security, Martin said the 7-month old baby boy was out of the car and inside within 5 to 10 minutes.
“It appears that he was fine, probably a little cold. He was crying, didn’t appear to be in any physical distress, but obviously you don’t want to have a 7-month-old child in a car unattended period, let alone in 15° weather,” said Martin.
By that time, the baby’s father, 25-year-old Clint VanEpps responded to the page, and deputies arrived on scene.
Martin said video surveillance shows VanEpps entering the racino around 2 p.m., meaning the baby was outside in the car, which was not running, for 40 minutes. Deputies said the car seat was covered by a light cloth in what appeared to be an attempt to hide the baby from the view of others.
Deputies charged VanEpps with endangering the welfare of a child.
The baby’s mother and grandmother were called to come pick the baby up. We were unable to reach family members for comment.
VanEpps was arraigned in Farmington Town Court. Deputies say he’s free on $10,000 cash bail. The judge did issue an order of protection.
VanEpps is due back in court on Monday, February 7th.