Tanning trip puts mother in pokey

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville woman said she gasped when she and other tanning salon patrons discovered a child left in a car outside the business.

"I came out from getting a tan myself and I saw, like, two other women crowded around this car," said Karen Iocco. "And they said, 'There's a baby in there' and I said, 'No way.'"

According to a police report, 20-year-old Crystal Britt of Dacula left her 3-month-old boy in the car while she went into Sun City Tan on Grayson Highway to lie in a tanning bed.

Iocco said she felt compelled to call 911 after finding the child inside the vehicle. Iocco said she and another couple pulled their trucks in front of and behind Britt's car - which was parked in the fire lane - trapping her in until police arrived.

According to a warrant for Britt's arrest, the mother left the child inside her Toyota Corolla for about 15 minutes.

Iocco said a salon employee and a woman from a store next door tried to get Britt to come out of the tanning room she was in but were unsuccessful.

The report said Britt did come out of the business and admitted to leaving the child in the car, but said she left the car running and the doors locked. According to the report, the outside temperature between 3 and 3:30 p.m., the time the child was left in the car, was between 80 and 90 degrees.

Britt was arrested outside the salon and taken to the Gwinnett County Jail and charged with first-degree cruelty to children. The child was released to his godmother, the report said.

Messages were left at the number provided by Britt on the police report, but calls were not returned.

Lawrenceville Police Department Spokesman Capt. Greg Vaughn said this type of incident was the first of its type this year. Vaughn said he has never heard of an incident of this nature in the time has been with the Lawrenceville department.

"How can you give someone like this advice?" Vaughn said of the incident. "You don't do that sort of thing. I've heard of kids left in cars in Atlanta and people taking off with them, and fortunately that didn't happen here."

Although rare, Gwinnett County Police Department Spokesman Cpl. Darren Moloney said county officers have seen incidents in which children have died while left alone in hot cars when temperatures are high.

"We have seen situations like that," Moloney said of heat-related child deaths. "But nothing recent this year."

As far as discouraging parents and care givers from leaving children unattended in vehicles, Moloney said this he hopes would be understood.

"We would hope certain things would be common sense," Moloney said.

Britt bonded out of the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday on a $3,400 bond, according to jail records.