O'Fallon dad in dead toddler case released from jail on $25,000 bond

News-DemocratJune 22, 2013 

— Wayne Hubert, the O'Fallon man accused of being passed out drunk while his toddler son died in a hot car, has been released from jail after posting $25,000 for bond.

Hubert posted the required 10 percent cash of his $250,000 bail and was released Saturday afternoon from the St. Clair County Jail, according to the county sheriff's office.

Hubert, 32, had been at the jail since Friday, when he was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his 23-month-old son Nathan the day before.

The state's attorney's criminal complaint against Hubert accuses him of being intoxicated and passed "out on the floor" of his O'Fallon house while Nathan, who had been strapped in a car seat, was dying in an overheated car parked in the home's driveway.

The sheriff's office on Saturday evening did not provide information as to who provided the $25,000 in cash required for Hubert to make bail.

Hubert took Nathan out to his vehicle, a black Hyundai Elantra four-door with a dark-colored interior, at about 2:30 p.m. with plans to make a trip, according to O'Fallon Police.

The boy was left unattended in the car without air conditioning and "with only one window partially open" when the outside air temperature ranged from 85 to 90 degrees, according to the criminal complaint.

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 2 criminal felony, which under Illinois law carries a potential prison sentence of between three and 14 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Hubert also faces charges of endangering the life of a child, a Class 2 felony for leaving the boy in the car unattended and a Class A misdemeanor for leaving his 4-year-old daughter in the family home unattended, according to the complaints. The daughter is identified in the charges by her initials, N.H.

Neighbors described Wayne Hubert as a loving and dutiful father who was seen often outdoors playing with his son and daughter.

"Every time you saw him out there, he was cutting the grass," said Craig Gross, who lives across the street.

Neighbors also remembered the little boy as friendly and energetic.

"He was out there playing and giggling in the pool," Gross said of him. "It's a horrible thing. A little kid like that -- it's a crying shame."

Police were called at 5:07 p.m. on Thursday. Neighbors in the 300 block of Joy Drive said the mother was wailing in the front yard with the deceased child in her arms. According to St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone, the child, less than a month from his second birthday, had a temperature of 104.6 degrees when rescue workers arrived.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:52 p.m., Stone said.

Not counting Nathan Hubert, at least 13 children have died in 2013 from heat in vehicles, according to statistics collected by the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University.

In 2012, at least 32 children died from vehicular heat stroke, according to the SFSU website.

And since 1998, at least 573 children have died from vehicular heat stroke -- or an average of 38 each year, according to the website.

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