A Washington, Missouri-based national organization known as Kids in Cars is pleading with parents and caregivers to never leave children alone in or around vehicles.
Executive Director Terrill Struttmann and his wife Michelle started the organization shortly after their son, Harrison, was involved in an accident in May of 1998. Both Michelle and Harrison were sitting in a Washington park when two kids left alone in a van accidentally shifted that van into gear. Struttmann says the vehicle then headed straight for the area in which Michelle and Harrison were sitting.
Harrison died of his injuries while Michelle is still recovering from hers. Terrill Struttmann is hoping to convince state lawmakers in Missouri and throughout the country to write laws or to change current laws making it an offense to keep children alone in vehicles.
He says only twelve states have laws which penalize those who leave children unattended in vehicles. He adds Missouri has what he calls an "after the fact" law in which there are penalties only after someone is killed or injured as a result of kids being left unattended in vehicles.