Mom charged with neglect after 2 kids left in hot car, police say

30-year-old left children in car for 25 minutes in 90-degree heat, JSO says

Booking photo of Elena Shavrova
Booking photo of Elena Shavrova

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 30-year-old mother was arrested last week after police said she left her two children in a hot car for nearly half an hour while she shopped at Walmart.

Police charged Elena Shavrova with child neglect last Wednesday after they said she left the children in a locked car parked outside the Walmart at Beach and Hodges boulevards.

According to Shavrova's arrest report, a witness in the parking lot saw Shavrova's car when he went into the Walmart and again when he came out. He told police when he came out of the store, he heard crying coming from the car and saw two children inside. Just as he was considering breaking a window, the witness said, Shavrova came back to her car.

Police said it was partly cloudy and 91 degrees and that the car was parked in no shade.

Police said paramedics checked out the children, whose ages were not listed in the report, and they were placed with a family member who came to the parking lot.

News4Jax parked in a spot with no shade Monday to see how hot our car would get about the same time police said Shavrova was in the store -- about 1:30 p.m.

Even on a more cloudy day, after 20 minutes with the car not running, the interior became significantly hotter.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said people often forget how quickly cars get hot when they aren't running.

“People think that when they get out of the car and the air conditioning has been on, the temperature is going to stay the same. It doesn't,” Smith said. “If the outside temperature is between 80 and 100 degrees, in about 30 minutes that temperature can climb to between 130 and 170 degrees inside.”

Smith said smashing a window would have been the right decision, if the witness ended up doing that.

“If law enforcement or fire rescue were to get there and they believe the kids were in distress, they're trained to go ahead and break the windshield. I almost did that once when I was a school resource officer. Kids were inside of a car and right when I was about to smash the window, the parents came up,” Smith said. “If it's going to save someone's life, then that's what needs to be done.”

Shavrova, who has bonded out of jail, declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.