Shoppers freed two kids from a hot car at a strip mall in Katy, Texas, on Monday afternoon after hearing them cry for help while their mother was inside getting a haircut.
"It was a crazy situation," Gabriel Del Valle, who captured video of the incident on his cell phone, told KHOU 11 News
. "The kids were in there crying. I mean you would understand. It's real hot."
After trying to open the car a number of ways, a man is seen in the video taking a hammer to smash the back window. A small woman then crawls inside to unlock the doors and free the children.
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"[They could barely open the doors because there was a child lock on," said Del Valle. "Even a dog can die, so imagine a person."
After all the commotion the children's mother emerged from the hair salon, profusely apologizing, and saying she'd made a terrible mistake. She said they had only intended to be gone a short time. Temperatures were hovering above 90 degrees that day.
The rescuers declined to call the police, and the woman drove away.
The incident comes on the heels of a high-profile case in which Georgia father Ross Harris was charged with murder and child cruelty after he left his 22-month-old strapped in a car seat while he was at work. It was later discovered that he had used internet search engines to look up information on deaths related to being trapped in a hot car.
Accidental hot car deaths became a major subject of national conversation in 2009 after the publication of a Washington Post article by Gene Weingarten, "Fatal Distraction,"
which won a Pulitzer Prize.
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