An Edina woman has been charged with child endangerment after she allegedly had her 11-year-old nephew ride in the trunk of her Lexus so he wouldn't drip water on its leather seats.
According to the criminal complaint, Susan Marie McCarty, 38, was charged after she admitted that she had her nephew get into the trunk because he was damp from going on a water ride at Valleyfair.
On the afternoon of Aug. 23, witnesses in a parking lot at the Shakopee amusement park reported seeing a boy climb into the trunk while two women watched. Witnesses gave police the license number of the car, and after being stopped by officers, McCarty told them the back seat console had been folded down so the boy could get some air.
When he said he was getting hot, she said, air vents were aimed at the hole, which was about the size of a piece of paper. Temperatures that day were in the mid 80s.
McCarty said on Tuesday night that, halfway to her car in the Valleyfair parking lot, she realized that she didn't have a towel for the boy. She said she would never purposely put her family in danger and was glad no one had been hurt. "I didn't assess the situation," McCarty said.
The boy, who had been dropped off at his home in Wayzata before police stopped his aunt, told police that he had gone on a water ride right before they left Valleyfair and that his aunt had wanted him to ride in the trunk because he was wet and that he didn't want to question her. Despite the console being open and being able to fit his face in the opening, the boy said, he was still hot and would have rather sat in the back seat.
The boy's 14-year-old sister told police that he had seemed excited about riding in the trunk. She said she and her grandmother had "somewhat of an uneasy feeling" about the boy riding in the trunk, but they, too, didn't question her aunt.
If convicted, McCarty could face as much as a year in prison and $3,000 in fines.