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Hudson Valley Father Pleads Guilty, Avoids Prison In Hot Car Deaths Of 1-Year-Old Twins

The Rodriguez Family.
The Rodriguez Family. Photo Credit: GoFundMe

A father from the Hudson Valley will avoid prison time after pleading guilty in connection to the deaths of his twin toddlers who were left in a sweltering car last summer in New York City.

Rockland County resident Juan Rodriguez, 39, of New City, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment in Bronx Criminal Court for his role in the deaths of his 1-year-old twins last year.

Rodriguez will avoid time behind bars and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said that on July 26 last year, Rodriguez drove to his job at the James J. Peters Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on West Kingsbridge Road, leaving his twins in their car seats inside his Honda sedan.

Rodriguez arrived at his job at 8:22 a.m. on the day of Lana and Phoenix Rodriguez’s deaths, leaving work at 4:02 p.m. on the same date.

Clark said that after driving for two blocks, Rodriguez discovered his two children were unresponsive in the backseat, prompting him to call his wife, who called 911.

The twins were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, the investigation determined that the temperature in the car where the twins were left topped 100 degrees on the day of their death. A Medical Examiner said the two toddlers died of hyperthermia, as the temperature of both was at 108 degrees at the time they were pronounced dead.

“The defendant, Juan Rodriguez, left his 1-year-old twins in the backseat of his car for hours while he went to work,” Clark said in a statement. “The children were strapped in their car seats throughout the hot summer day, with no windows open.

“These babies suffered horribly and we owed them a thorough investigation. This was a tragic, unfortunate incident,” he added. “I hope that as the sweltering weather is upon us, caregivers will be extra vigilant about children in vehicles.”

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