Charges Filed After Child Falls Out of Car in Mankato
(MANKATO, Minn) - Blue Earth County has filed three misdemeanor charges against a Mankato woman in connection with an incident in which a child fell from a moving vehicle.
40-year-old Maimuna Kunow Hassan of Mankato is charged after an incident Monday in Mankato in which a child fell out of Hassan's vehicle.
Hassan is being charged with one gross misdemeanor count of endangering a child in a situation that could cause harm or death, a misdemeanor charge of violating instruction permit requirements, and a petty misdemeanor of not fastening a child restraint system.
"Based upon the facts that were provided, it appears the car door was slightly ajar," Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott tells KEYC News 12. "The child seat was not properly fastened and based upon that, it's a neglectful situation, not an intentional situation."
The incident was captured on the dash-cam of a driver behind Hassan.
According to the criminal complaint, other witnesses also saw the child fall out of the vehicle and the driver continuing to drive away. Blue Earth County says the mother of the child parked on Cherry Street and returned to the scene with a second child while officers were still obtaining information.
The complaint says Hassan told officers through a translator that she was driving the car, the door had popped open and the car seat had fallen out.
A Mankato Public Safety Officer inspected the car seat and found no latch strap to secure it despite the vehicle being latch-compatible according to the court document.
Authorities also say the car seat chest straps were undone and the seat belt was not buckled where the falling child's car seat would be secured.
Officers on the scene discovered that Hassan did not have a Minnesota driver's license and only had an instructional permit to operate a vehicle; no other adult was in the vehicle while she was driving.
McDermott says Hassan's lack of a valid driver's license won't necessarily impact the child endangerment charge.
"It's not an element of the child neglect portion of the case; it's separate and distinct. Anybody could be neglectful in that situation whether that person was a fully licensed driver or a non-licensed driver doesn't necessarily dictate or equate with the child neglect." said McDermott. "But it is a factor showing that the person shouldn't have been driving to begin with."
The complaint says Hassan did not have a driver's license, but only an instruction permit, and that no other adult was in the car at the time of the incident.
McDermott also says law enforcement and Health and Human Services will be investigating the incident, but no major involvement from the County Attorney's office is expected.
"If they feel there is a need to get our office involve we will be notified but many cases we are not notified unless they are in the most egregious types of cases where they would remove the child from their home but that's not anticipated here" said McDermott.
Hassan is due in court on February 14.
---KEYC News 12