Child endangerment cases are always difficult to hear, let alone understand why someone would abuse a child, but this one is definitely bizarre. A Tennessee grandmother was caught driving with her grandkids in dog kennels in the back of her SUV. Leimome Cheeks was charged with two counts of child endangerment during her court hearing and will return to court on July 9.
The grandmother was arrested when a video showed her letting her grandchildren, ages seven and nine, out of dog crates in the back of her Ford Explorer outside of Elvis’ Graceland mansion on Saturday.
Cheeks told the police that she had run out of space in her car for the 25-mile drive, so the kids rode in the dog kennels. When the children were questioned, they said they were hot during the drive as there are no vents in the back of the car, noting that their grandmother kept the windows closed and didn’t have air conditioning. The temperatures that day were in the mid-90’s.
Cheeks maintains that when she drove with the kids to a downtown location, she would check on them periodically and that they were later allowed to ride in the backseat. The Department of Children’s Services doesn’t have the children in their custody but are currently investigating the family.
A neighbor told the local news that Cheeks is “a nice lady” and noted that he “can’t see her doing that,” while other residents said she’s a woman of strong faith.
Among the people who commenting on the Daily Mail’s coverage of the story was one person who noted: “I don’t know how tall or old the kids are, but in Tennessee kids under 4 feet 9 or under 9 years old are required by law to ride in a booster seat with a seat belt in the backseat (if the car has a backseat). Even if the child is in the front (truck or sports car), they must still be in the booster seat.”
Others discussed that the grandmother’s treatment of her grandkids could have had a fatal outcome, with one commenter noting: “Imagine if she had been in a car accident? These kids would have been killed, this is so very wrong for so many reasons, I cannot think of any reason at all that she could have convinced herself this was okay.”
Another commenter agreed, writing: “If they were in an accident and rear ended, they would have been killed or seriously injured. The kids were not buckled up and not in regular seated positions. This is plain old common sense! And there WAS room in the vehicle for the kids. The end of the article stated the kids were later ‘allowed’ to sit in the back seat. The grandma is LUCKY she only got arrested… The kids could have DIED.”
Others, however, explained how kids sometimes like to play in dog crates, with one person saying: “So my two grandkids (aged 6 and 3) love crawling into our dog cages. Granted they are in the house and not the car but they see it as funny and they play ‘dog’ and jail.”