Firefighter accused of leaving son inside hot car; child dies


A Hillsborough County firefighter accused of leaving his 23-month-old son in a hot car has bonded out of jail, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

  • 23-month-old boy left inside hot vehicle for hours; dies
  • Father told deputies he thought he dropped son off at day care
  • Troy Whitaker, a firefighter, was charged with aggravated manslaughter

Troy Whitaker, 41, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter.

Deputies received a call at 4:30 p.m. on Friday about a baby boy inside a truck parked in the driveway of a house on Castlewood Lane in Palm Harbor.

Lawson Whitaker was found inside the vehicle. He was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Whitaker was taking his 5-year-old daughter to school and his son to day care Friday morning, according to deputies. After dropping his daughter off, Whitaker was scheduled to take his son to day care, but instead drove home.

Deputies say Whitaker returned home at 8:30 a.m. and went inside, leaving Lawson inside the truck until about 3:30 p.m. He later drove to a nearby grocery store and didn’t realize his son was still inside the vehicle, according to investigators.

Whitaker returned home at 4:30 p.m. and discovered his son in the back seat while he was unloading groceries.

Investigators say Whitaker called 911 and performed CPR on the child.

Whitaker told deputies that he thought he had dropped his son off at day care earlier that morning.

He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail.


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