Dangerous and stupid weirdness, it seems, always finds Florida.
This time, however, it’s not the proverbial “Florida Man,” but a Florida mom — one who’s in very deep trouble after she allegedly left her child alone in a running car so she could go out swimming.
Her excuse? She says she wanted to “meet sharks.”
According to WBBH-TV, the arrest happened Monday in Bokeelia, Florida, where the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to Capt’n Con’s restaurant at roughly 10:30 a.m. in response to a report of a child left unattended in a vehicle.
The arrest report cited a witness, apparently the caller, who said he saw a woman park her car at the pier and turn up the radio.
She then began swimming around the pier. The witness then noticed that there was a 2-year-old crawling in the car — which at least had the air conditioner running.
While still on the phone with police, the witness said they saw the mother swim farther away from the pier, according to Fox News.
At this time, Lee County Fire and emergency medical services arrived on the scene. A detective checked on the child and found he wasn’t in distress — so then, he started looking for the mother, later identified as 41-year-old Allison Daugherty.
Daugherty reportedly began swimming farther from the pier, so the detective kept an eye on her with binoculars. With the detective tracking her and EMS helping the detective, the Boca Grande Marine Unit was finally able to catch up with her in the water.
She was brought aboard the boat, brought to shore and detained.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 14, 2023
As of Wednesday, she was still in police custody on a charge of child neglect or leaving an unattended child in a motor vehicle for an excess of 15 minutes, the New York Post reported.
As for her reason why she was out in the water?
“A witness statement says Daugherty was swimming in the water where citizens were fishing and yelling at her that hooks and sharks were in the water,” Fox News reported. “Daugherty allegedly yelled back that ‘she wanted to get hooked’ and ‘would want to meet sharks.'”
Florida mother leaves son in car to go swimming and ‘meet sharks,’ police say https://t.co/42hwpUM8bV
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 16, 2023
Right. As you can imagine, social media users weren’t exactly impressed with this logic:
— Global Media CEO (@GlobalMediaCEO) September 16, 2023
It’s sad that you are so irresponsible as a mother.
— Anna Berner (@CalvinK24547378) September 16, 2023
Florida mother leaves son in car to go swimming and ‘meet sharks,’ police say
**** I hope Child Services took her child…https://t.co/dO0uQQVXsD
— ALR229712812 (@ALR229712812) September 14, 2023
In total, the child had allegedly been left alone in the car for a total of about 44 minutes. According to WBBH, staff at the restaurant said they had noticed her and the boy in there three times in the week prior and each time, Daugherty was acting strangely.
“We called the sheriff’s office; she didn’t seem drunk. She didn’t seem intoxicated,” said staff member Jenny Wray. “Something was just off.”
The child, who was in diapers, ate lunch at the restaurant before a relative picked him up.
“He was a sweet little boy, very well-behaved,” Wray said. “He sat and ate and watched TV like oblivious to what was going on, thank God.”
“If it was me and that was the situation, I would want somebody to take my baby in and make sure he is safe,” Wray added.
It’s a reminder that, while there may be plenty of strangeness to go around in Florida, there’s a whole lot more goodness to go around in the end. Hooray for the people at the restaurant — and the police, who were able to make sure this child was safe and his mother detained. Both helped avert a potential tragedy on Monday. If the facts are as they appear, one hopes that more heroes step up to make sure this child is in a safe environment and those who put him at risk are held accountable.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.