NEEDLES (CBS13) — Three Sacramento residents are under arrest after five children were found riding unrestrained in a make-shift wooden box in the bed of a pickup truck near the California-Arizona border.
The arrest happened on Tuesday. According to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, deputies at the Colorado River station got a call that day about a pickup truck spotted along Interstate 40 that appeared to be carrying children in a crate.
“The truck, the trailer, it looked a little different but I don’t know if anything about it was actually in violation of any vehicle code,” Cindy Bachman, public information officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, said. “So it may have traveled along and not been stopped by any law enforcement officer had it not been those callers.”
Deputies managed to stop the pickup in the California city of Needles.
As deputies discovered, the pickup indeed had a makeshift wooden box on its bed. Inside the box were five children ranging in age from 1 to 13 years old. All were unrestrained in the box, which also had no ventilator nor water on a day when temperatures outside were reaching around 100 degrees.
“The children didn’t have air conditioning and they didn’t have any water. So it was a pretty serious situation,” Bachman said. “I don’t recall in over 30 years being here that I’ve ever heard of a situation quite like this.”
Deputies also found illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia and a shotgun inside the pickup.
Three people, all Sacramento residents, were arrested: 40-year-old Kenneth Standridge, 39-year-old Zona Brasier and 41-year-old Aushajuan Hardy. All are facing child endangerment, among other charges.
Sacramento County court records show that all three have had a criminal history in the county. The children are related to the suspects, but the sheriff’s office would expand further.
Bachman told CBS13 that the suspects told investigators that they were traveling to Oklahoma. The reason has yet to have been to be determined.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said that Standridge and Brasier are both facing five counts of felony child abuse charges. Standbridge is also being charged with felony possession of a firearm.
Hardy is not facing any charges from the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office, according to a spokesperson.