YORK COUNTY — A 38-year-old York man has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children after police say two three-year-old children in his care were found wandering along Route 30 in Manchester Township while he was drunk, according to Northern York County Regional Police.
Jeffrey Powell, of the 200 block of Arsenal Road, was charged Sunday after police received reports that two young children were sighted running along Route 30 in the area of the Round the Clock Diner at Toronita Street. Police say they responded to where a bystander had stopped the children and retrieved them from the travel lanes of Route 30.
Witnesses told police the children were seen walking downhill from the Econo Lodge at 222 Arsenal Road. The children had a Chevrolet key and a cell phone with them, police say.
Police went to the Econo Lodge and located the vehicle the car key matched: a Chevrolet Impala with Pennsylvania registration that was not on file with PennDOT. Police say they entered the vehicle and found paperwork indicating it was owned by a woman who had rented a room at the hotel.
Police say officers went to the room, but no one was present. Officers then returned to where the children were being detained and found that Powell, their father, was already there. He told police he was staying at the hotel with the children and left them locked in the room while he took a shower. When he got out of the shower, Powell allegedly told police, he noticed a chair had been moved to the door and the room was empty.
According to police, Powell “appeared to be unconcerned with the location of his children” and was not exhibiting “normal protective behaviors as would be expected from a father in this type of circumstances.”
Police say they also noticed the odor of alcohol emitting from Powell, who took a breathalyzer test that indicated he was above the legal limit.
Children and Youth Services were called to the scene to take temporary custody of the children, according to police. Powell was taken into custody and transported to Central Booking for processing and arraignment.