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ECSO: Toddler left at home as parents go on drunken joyride
0131 Scott Dufford
Scott Dufford

Two Effingham County parents arrested Wednesday for driving recklessly in a church parking lot also were charged with child cruelty — even though their toddler wasn’t with them.

Instead, the 18-month-old was home alone, with the front door left open, according to reports.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office received multiple reports of someone driving recklessly and “doing doughnuts” in the parking lot of Countryside Baptist Church on Highway 30 around 2 a.m., ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor said.

Deputies arrested the driver, Scott Dufford, 20, and passenger, Melissa Rossetti, 31, both of Guyton. Dufford was charged with driving under the influence and both were arrested for loitering and prowling.

“On the way to the jail, they informed deputies that they had left their 18-month-old home alone at their house,” Ehsanipoor said.

Deputies went to the couple’s home on Highway 30 and “found the front door wide-open in below-freezing temperatures, very loud music blaring from the house, and the child alone,” according to Ehsanipoor.

First-degree child cruelty was added to the charges for both Dufford and Rossetti. They are being held in the Effingham County Jail.

Deputies were able to contact a family member, who took temporary custody of the child. The case also will be referred to the Department of Family and Children Services, Ehsanipoor said.