A Hopkins woman is accused of leaving two children in a car in freezing temperatures while she drank in a bar, then disappeared in a taxicab, according to charges filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court.
Sarah Joan Philbrick, 55, faces two gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment for the Sunday evening incident. Police were called to Lindee's Saloon and Eatery in Hopkins about 7:45 p.m. after an employee of the bar noticed a vehicle with a broken rear window and two small children inside. The doors were locked, so she broke the window further to get into the car. The children, ages 2 and 3, were not wearing any jackets, hats or gloves, according to the complaint. The temperature was about 25 degrees.
Police checked on the children, who had warmed up inside the business, and traced the car to Philbrick. They showed her driver's license photo to bar employees who confirmed she had come into the bar about 5:30 p.m. Witnesses confirmed she ordered two cocktails before she was helped into a cab.
Philbrick's husband told police that she was the aunt of the two children and was supposed to care for them while their parents worked. Because of poor weather, the parents were unable to return from New Ulm to pick up the children. The children were released to Philbrick's husband.
At some point Philbrick returned to Lindee's. The cabdriver was angry because Philbrick did not know where she wanted to go, charges said. Philbrick was allegedly red-faced, slurred her speech and stumbled as she walked. When police asked her about leaving the children in the car, she allegedly said: "I have two dogs." She refused a preliminary breath test, was arrested and remains in Hennepin County jail in lieu of $6,000 bail.
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