Mother accused of leaving toddlers in car while at bar charged with child endangerment, tells judge she ‘made a mistake’
photo by: Mike Yoder
A Lawrence mother who allegedly left her two toddlers in a car while she was in a bar pleaded with the judge to not take her children away when she made her first appearance in Douglas County District Court on Thursday.
Tiara Dillon, 26, who has been in Douglas County Jail since early Wednesday morning, appeared in court from the jail through video stream. She was formally charged with two felony counts of aggravated child endangerment and one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence.
Judge James T. George appointed a lawyer, Richard Lungstrum, to represent Dillon, set her bond at $10,000 and ordered her to not make contact with her children, who are ages 2 and 3.
Before George made the no-contact order, Dillon repeatedly asked him not to. She said she had “made a mistake” and did not mean to hurt her children.
“I love my babies,” she said through tears. “Please don’t take my babies.”
George also ordered Dillon to not consume alcohol or drugs, to not visit any establishments that serve alcohol and to wear a GPS tracking device should she bond out of jail.
Her next court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb 19.
Dillon was arrested early Wednesday morning after allegedly leaving her two children unattended inside a vehicle at a Lawrence bar on a dangerously cold night.
Lawrence police responded shortly after 1:30 a.m. to a trespassing report at Playerz Sports Bar, 1910 Haskell Ave., according to Officer Derrick Smith. Dillon reportedly had been removed from the bar but was attempting to get back in, prompting staff to report that she was trespassing.
At the bar, staff told police that Dillon had been at the bar while her two children stayed in the vehicle. Temperatures Wednesday morning were in the single digits as a polar vortex affected Lawrence and most of the Midwest, bringing subzero wind chills.
The woman had left the bar before police arrived, but officers located her vehicle near the intersection of 19th Street and Haskell Avenue and conducted a car stop, according to Smith. He said police determined that the children had been left alone in the vehicle “without heat for a substantial amount of time” while the woman was at the bar.
The children were not injured, Smith said.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has declined to release a booking photo of Dillon.