Sidney Deal, the father of the girl who died inside the car, waited two hours before letting officers break the window. He said he couldn't afford to repair the car, that's why he wasn't letting anyone break the window sooner.
Hot car deaths are not unheard of. Many animals and toddlers have passed away in this horrific manner and it continues to kill more. In fact, in 2018 and 2019, there were 53 and 52 deaths in the US respectively, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, rarely has it been that a parent is right outside the car and refuses to let anyone break into it to rescue his child.
A 21-month-old toddler, Sayah Deal, died in Nevada on October 5 after becoming trapped inside her father, Sidney Deal's car. The 27-year-old father had refused to let anyone break the window of his new car. He claimed that he couldn't afford to get the car repaired, according to Kiro7. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that Sidney had flagged down an officer to help him, as per KTNV Las Vegas.
The 27-year-old accidentally locked his keys inside his car along with his child. He had an argument with his girlfriend, the mother of his two children, at her house and she made him leave.
However, he returned 15 minutes later asking her to call his insurance company. She was on the phone with them for 23 minutes but they said that he didn't have roadside assistance and would have to pay for a locksmith.
Sidney believed that the air conditioner inside the car was on and his girl was walking back and forth as he forgot to buckle her into her car seat. The child eventually laid down on the floor of the car and he thought she was asleep, reports KTNV Las Vegas.
The father refused the officers' offer to break the window or call a tow truck or locksmith, his arrest report states as cited by Kiro7. He asked to borrow a cellphone from someone to call his brother, Samid Deal, who rushed to the scene.
"He immediately took his shirt off, wrapped it around his knuckles, and was ready to punch the window," the arrest report states. "Sidney stopped him and said he wanted to wait for a tow truck. Sidney insisted he not damage his new vehicle, stating he had just bought the car and did not have the money to repair a broken window," he added.
Eventually, the officers broke the window to get the child out but it was too late. Unfortunately, the child was stuck in the car for around two hours. Las Vegas Metro Police Department spokesperson Larry Hadfield said that the police didn't immediately break the window as Sidney was "adamant about protecting the car and they could see the child breathing," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
"The dad said that the A/C was on and the kid was playing, and when the officers arrived, they saw that she was breathing," Hadfield said. "But when the officers got concerned for the child’s well-being, they broke the window," he added.
By then, dozens of people had arrived at the location. One witness, Shellie Ratliff, 64, told the Review-Journal that Sidney and the police just waited around for two hours before actually trying to rescue the girl. "I don’t understand why police didn’t bust that window open first," Shellie said. "You can always get another car, but you can’t get another life," she added.
Dozens have gathered at 1719 H Street, where a nearly-2-year-old girl died while locked in a hot car yesterday.— Alexis Ford (@alexisdford) October 7, 2020
Her dad, Sidney Deal, was arrested. But neighbors say police refused to break the car window until the girl was unresponsive.
Story: https://t.co/i1h6i8DvEN pic.twitter.com/bQZUy0v0W1
Sidney's mother, Artavia Wilson, doesn't believe that her son was a negligent father. "We were on FaceTime and he asked the officers to help him," Artavia said.
"I said, ‘Did y’all check all the doors, did y’all check everything?' He said, 'Yes.' The car was running and she was in the car," she added. The grandmother added that Sayah was never unattended since Sidney was near the car the entire time.
"He works. My son is a great father. He’s a very responsible young man. He has his own apartment, his own car, and he had full custody of his daughter. So he’s very responsible because I raised him as such. They’re not going to smear my son like he just was the average Joe Shmoe out here, 'cause he is not," she added.
Sidney has been charged with child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm. His bail was set at $20,000.