Mother accused of locking toddler in car while she went drinking at Deerfield Beach bar

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A mother has been arrested after she allegedly left her toddler inside her car while she went drinking in a Deerfield Beach bar.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 29-year-old Jennifer Potts just after 2:30 a.m., Monday.

Potts is accused of leaving the child in the car while she drank at the Padono Bar and Grill, located near Hillsboro Boulevard and North Military Trail.

However, she told deputies that she was only inside the bar for a couple of seconds to recover her cellphone and driver’s license.

Deputies responded to an anonymous complaint just after 1 a.m., that said a baby had been left alone inside a car in the restaurant’s parking lot. The sheriff’s office said that after searching the parking lot, deputies located the toddler screaming in the backseat of a car that was off with the windows rolled up.

“Despite the fact that it was like two o’ clock in the morning, this child was not resting or sleeping. He was screaming. He was scared, and he was alone,” BSO spokesperson Gina Carter said. “Finally, we were able to get the car open, and get the child out. Sometime after that, she actually came out of the bar and tried to explain that she had only been gone a few seconds.”

Potts’ parents were in court at her hearing Monday, and said that she just made a bad decision.

“Your honor, my daughter Jennifer has never been in any trouble before,” her father said. “She was out with her friends and made a horrible judgement call, no doubt about that.”

The child was taken to Broward Health North to be evaluated. Officials said the child is expected to be OK.

“Anytime you leave a child unattended, it’s incredibly dangerous,” Carter said. “Whether you think you’re going to be gone a couple of minutes, or not, you just cannot do it. That’s neglect. Anything can happen. We’ve had so many cases in the past of parents or caregivers leaving young children alone for what they think is gonna be just a few minutes, and then tragedy happens.”

Potts has been charged with neglect of a child without great bodily harm. She’s being held on a $5,000 bond.

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