Gary Petty pleads guilty to leaving child on daycare van

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Gary Petty

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — 56-year-old Gary Petty, the Milwaukee man accused of leaving a seven-year-old child on a daycare van for hours on a cold, January evening, pleaded guilty Monday, February 25th.

Gary Petty is charged with one count of “child left unattended in child care vehicle.”

According to the criminal complaint, Petty picked up the boy from school on Friday, January 11th. He was supposed to have dropped the boy off at the Futuristic Child Development Center. However, the child fell asleep in the back of the van — and the complaint says Petty “did not check his bus…as he should have” that evening. Petty then drove home.

The boy’s mother called around 5 p.m. that evening to check on the status of her children. Daycare workers told her the seven-year-old boy was “downstairs.” So the mother didn’t believe anything was wrong. However, when she called again around 9 p.m., the boy could not be found.

The complaint indicates the mother then called Petty directly. He then apparently checked the van and found the boy.

The daycare center faces 11 violations for the incident — in addition to Petty’s criminal charges. The center was found to have failed to notify a parent when the child did not arrive as scheduled, failed to notify the state Department of Children and Families within 24 hours of the incident and let Petty drive the van for more than a month before obtaining his driving record.

If convicted, Petty faces up to nine months in prison and $10,000 in fines.