4 employees charged with manslaughter after 5-year-old's death in van
Christopher Gardner Jr.

via WMC

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- (WMC) -- Four employees are charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a 5-year-old who was left on a day care van in West Memphis.

Christopher Gardner, Jr. was found dead in his booster seat eight hours after the van arrived at Ascent Children’s Health Services on Monday, June 12.

West Memphis Police Captain Joe Baker said four people could have prevented the child’s death had they done their jobs and checked on the van.

"These people all had an active, hands on part in conduct that led to this tragedy occurring," Captain Joe Baker said. "If any one of the four had have done the job they were assigned to do that morning, we feel that there is a very good chance this could have been avoided and we wouldn't have the situation we have with a 5-year-old child no longer being with us."

According to police officers, the surface temperature of the seat inside the van was 141 degrees at the time of the boy's death.

Baker confirmed that Gardner died of hyperthermia, which is caused by body temperature reaching a point that is significantly above normal.

The four people charged with manslaughter in the case are all Ascent employees:

  • Kendra Washington, 40, was a van driver for Ascent and the designated van safety inspector on this particular day. She was in charge of the second check of the van. Washington turned herself in and remains in custody.

  • Felicia Phillips, 42, was the driver of the Ascent van on June 12.

  • Pamela Robinson, 43, was the adult rider assigned to the van that Gardner was in.

  • Wanda Taylor, 43, was Ascent’s transportation supervisor. Police said she was the one who checked Christopher in despite him not making it inside the classroom.

FULL STORY: 4 employees charged with manslaughter after 5-year-old's death in van - WMC