A man left his 98-year-old mother, who is confined to a wheelchair, alone in a truck at Maryland Live! Casino for at least four-and-a-half hours Monday afternoon, according to Anne Arundel County police.
Dwight Ridgeway McGinnis Jr., 67, of Raleigh, North Carolina, pulled a Ford truck into the parking garage before 1:42 p.m. and went to the casino while his mother waited behind, police said. At 6:17 p.m., police responded to a call from a citizen who saw the woman still inside the truck.
McGinnis left the keys in the truck, but his mother is unable to turn on the car. She can’t provide basic needs for herself.
"She's not in the position where she can take care of herself," Anne Arundel County Police Lt. T.J. Smith said.
There was no sign of food or drunk in the truck except for an empty can of soda, police said. A window was partially open, and the temperature at the time police arrived was 81 degrees.
"This is an egregious situation that fortunately we don't encounter too often, but once is too much," Smith said.
The woman seemed confused at first but became more coherent as officers continued to question her, police said.
She was given water, and Anne Arundel County EMS examined her and determined she was not in medical distress.
"This was just a tragedy averted, but a problem nonetheless," Smith said.
About an hour later, police managed to reach McGinnis on his cellphone and have him return to the truck, where he was placed under arrest.
"We don't want to have a tragedy in our community," Smith said. "We've seen it nationwide. We've seen way too many instances of it. We don't want it in our community."
McGinnis was charged with vulnerable adult neglect and served with an outstanding warrant for failure to appear for a driving suspended charge. He was released on his own recognizance.
"It shocks you every time you hear about a vulnerable person in a scenario like this and you just hope that the person who left them in this position gets the help they need," Smith said.
His mother was released to her daughter, who lives in a neighboring state.
Police also reported the incident to the Department of Social Services.