An Edina woman is facing child endangerment charges after she was accused of having her nephew ride in the trunk of her Lexus to protect her leather seats because he was wet.
A criminal complaint says 38-year-old Susan Marie McCarty picked up her nephew at Valleyfair in Shakopee on a hot August afternoon. Witnesses told police they saw two women watch as the 11-year-old boy climbed into the trunk before they wrote down the car's license number.
McCarty told police her nephew had gone on a water ride and she didn't want him to drip water on the car's leather seats, so she had him ride in the trunk with the back seat console folded down. The boy's grandmother and 14-year-old sister were also in the car, but didn't question the aunt's decision.
The boy's sister told police that the boy had been warned on the way to the park and inside that if he continued to go on water rides, he would have to make the nearly half-hour return ride home in the trunk. She added that her brother had seemed excited about it; however, she admitted that she and her grandmother had an uneasy feeling about putting her brother in the trunk.
The boy, who lives in Wayzata, told police he didn't want to question his aunt -- and he willingly stayed in the trunk until he was dropped off. When he got hot, his family members aimed the air conditioning vents at the compartment venting into the trunk.
That vent was still open when police pulled the car over near McCarty's Edina Home.
Police said the boy later told them he would have preferred to sit in the back seat.
McCarty told the Star Tribune she would never purposely put her family in danger.
Child endangerment is a gross misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.