Father arrested after children found wandering Highway 82 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dad arrested after kids found on highway


Three young children were found wandering on busy U.S. 82 Saturday night. The three left their home while their father slept.

Now the father is charged with Reckless Conduct and the children were taken away.

The three little toddlers all under age 5, were spotted by motorists after 10 O'clock Saturday night walking beside Highway 82. Fortunately, alert drivers called police, who got them to safety.

James Jernigan lives at East Park Estate mobile home park on Sylvester Road, with his three young children. The three youngsters got out of the house and walked to the busy highway several hundred yards away.

Passing motorists called Police, who got the children to safety avoiding what could have been a real tragedy.

"That is a dangerous highway and there are too many sexual predators out there. Anyone could have picked them up and took them with them," says Capt. Tom Jackson of Dougherty County Police.

According to Dougherty Police, Earlier in the evening, Jernigan stepped outside his home to smoke a cigarette.

When he came back in, he forgot to lock the door and went to sleep. While he was sleeping, the children left the mobile home.

Police say this is the second time something like this has happened, leading them to file the reckless conduct charge and removal of the child from the home.

"You shouldn't have children if you cant take care of them," says Jackson.

The three children were turned over to the Department of Family and Children Services. When children are mistreated and taken from their homes, that's when places like Lilly Pad and Dougherty Casa step in to advocate for the children.

"I advocate daily for children safety. It is alarming to know that young children were out on a major highway," says Jershaun Roberts, Dougherty CASA Volunteer Coordinator.

She says as parents, it is your job to keep an eye on your children at all hours of the day.

Police say they could not find any other family member to take care of the children which left them with no other option but to turn them over the DFACS.

James Jernigan was released from the Dougherty county Jail after posting bond on the reckless conduct charge.


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