July 18th, 2020 11:00 P.M.
On Saturday, July 18th, 2020, at 1:48 P.M., Redding Police Officer Josh Tracy was getting gas for his patrol vehicle at the University Valero gas station, located at 1292 College View Drive, when he observed a child left unattended in a hot vehicle. Officer Tracy saw the silver Dodge Neon enter the parking lot and park to the front of the convenience store. The male driver, who was identified as 50 year old Jeffrey Kuykendall of Redding, exited the vehicle and entered the store. Officer Tracy noticed a small child in the rear seat of the vehicle, so he approached the vehicle to check on the child’s welfare.
Officer Tracy found that Kuykendall had turned the vehicle off, all windows were rolled up and the vehicle was parked in direct sunlight. At the time of this incident, the weather was hot and near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Officer Tracy opened the rear door of the vehicle to allow the child to get fresh air and found him to be in distress. Officer Tracy waited with the child for approximately 12 minutes, when Kuykendall finally emerged from the store.
Officer Tracy made contact with Kuykendall and noticed he appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Kuykendall was subsequently arrested and booked at the Shasta County Jail for being under the influence of a drug in a public place, in a condition that he was unable to care for his child, and for placing his child in a situation that could have caused serious injury or death.
The child, who is listed as a confidential victim due to his age, was provided medical care by paramedics and was stabilized while on-scene. Out of concerns for his welfare, the child was released to the custody of Shasta County Child Family Services pending a child endangerment investigation.
The Redding Police Department would like to remind citizens of the dangers and criminal consequences of leaving a child or animals in cars on hot days. The temperature inside of secured vehicles in hot weather can reach scorching temperatures, which can lead to heat related injuries and death. Recent statistics show that every year in the United States, over 30 children die from being left in hot cars. The public’s awareness of this issue may help prevent future occurrences.
Corporal Rob Garnero # 395
Redding Police Department
Sergeant Paul Slagle #323