Elderly Woman Tragically Dies After Sitting in Hot Car for 8 Hours

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Jane Lu
Updated on Jun 27, 2022 · 3 min read
The danger of a
hot car
is undeniable. When the summer comes, you have to work harder to
keep your car cool
Drivers are warned not to leave any children or pets in a parked car. In July 2020 in
, an 81-year-old woman died after being left in a hot car while her son went to work, as reported by
. The elderly woman was sitting in the car for eight hours.
There was homelessness involved and other circumstances which led to this tragic situation.
Hot car deaths can be a year-round threat

How did the accident happen?

Edward Sibley and his mother were a victim of their circumstances. They were homeless, bouncing between living in their car and living in motel rooms. On the day of the accident, Sibley went to work.
His mother was left in the car with keys so that she could use the air conditioner if needed. He also checked on her during lunch and provided her with food. Everything seemed well and he went back to work.
At around 3:30 am, two employees noticed Sibley's mother was drooling and unconscious in the car. The temperature outside was 96 degrees. Her core body temperature was 106 degrees while wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper.
A Chihuahua was in the car with Sibley’s mother. The dog was fine and eventually released back to Sibley.

Is the son guilty of murder?

At first, Sibley was charged with elderly abuse for the death of his mother. However, those charges have been reduced to "a gross misdemeanor" since there’s no evidence that he intended to cause his mother harm.
The Washoe County District Attorney's spokeswoman Michelle Bays said, "It was tragic, but tragedy doesn't always equate to felony charges."
There is proof that Sibley checked on his mother, provided for her, and did the best he could on that day. His trial is set for August, and he may be sentenced to up to one year in prison. The District Attorney’s office is recommending that he receives probation instead.

What are states doing to help reduce homelessness?

It’s important that communities do their part to help homeless people. This situation could have been prevented if the mother had a safe place to stay.
In Portland, OR, the city is putting in efforts to reduce homelessness, according to
ABC News
. Water, sunscreen, and other supplies are being donated to help homeless people within the community. The outreach program is also available to help people who are in bad health or distressed because of the heat.

How can you protect your family from the heat?

You should always double-check to make sure you didn’t leave important things, children, or pets inside a hot vehicle. There are many ways to prevent your car from overheating on the hottest summer days.
Some ways to keep your car cool include:
  • Parking in the shade when possible
  • Using sunshades to keep sun damage away from your interior
  • Tinting your windows
  • Leaving your sunroof open if you have one
  • Solar-powered window fans
If you’re driving without air conditioning, you’ll want to keep your windows rolled down. Even if it doesn’t seem that hot outside, you should never leave vulnerable children or pets unattended in a parked car.
Once you’ve got your car cooled,
is another way to get peace of mind. The free app compares car insurance rates from 50 top companies so you get the coverage you need without overpaying. It takes 45 seconds to sign up, and Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.

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