A Crest Hill woman who left her three children, all under the age of 6, in an unlocked car while she attended a downtown Joliet court hearing has been charged by Joliet police with three counts of child endangerment.
An attendant for the Ottawa Street Parking Deck, 110 N. Ottawa, discovered the situation at about 9:40 a.m. Friday when she noticed the children in the unlocked car and saw that the keys were in the ignition, Capt. Tab Jensen said.
The oldest child, a 6-year-old boy, told police his mother, Jennifer N. Wirkus, 28, of 1701 Nicholson, was at a hearing at the Will County Courthouse, which is about two blocks away from the parking garage, Jensen.
The children were taken into the police custody while Wirkus was tracked down at the courthouse and instructed to go to the Joliet Police Department at 150 W. Washington St.
Although Wirkus was charged with three counts of endangering the life/health of a child and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services notified, it was decided it was in the best interest of the children to release them to their mother's care, Jensen said.
Wirkus was released on a signature bond and is to appear in court on June 3.
According to court records, Wirkus was at a court hearing on traffic violations for failure to reduce speed and disregarding a traffic control device. She has been arrested several times since 2003 on charges that include felony retail theft, felony misuse of a credit card, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor knowingly damaging property, court records show.
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