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Man arrested after leaving baby on roadside

RAVINIA — A Lake Andes man was arrested after allegedly abandoning three children following a vehicle crash and leaving a baby on the side of the road.

Arthur Denney, 26, was arrested on May 26 after driving intoxicated on 388th Street near Ravinia, crashing the vehicle, leaving three children aged 2 to 4 with an intoxicated passenger, walking away with a baby and finally setting the baby near the roadway and leaving, according to court documents.

At about 3:45 a.m., a man brought the four children to the Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office and said he found the three oldest ones with the passenger, court documents state.

The man and the passenger located Denney shortly after walking westbound on 292nd Street without the 6- to 8-month-old baby.

The two men left Denney to search for the baby, who they found alive but allegedly unattended on the side of the roadway at the corner of 388th Avenue and 292nd Street lying next to a car seat, covered in mud from a rainstorm and bitten by mosquitoes.

Law enforcement later located and arrested Denney and charged him with abuse or cruelty to a minor less than 7 years old, a class 3 felony.

The abuse charge was dismissed on May 28 after the Charles Mix State's Attorney's Office decided to transfer the matter to juvenile court and try it as an abuse and neglect case, which means Denney will not face jail or prison time, but the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child, according to the state's attorney's office.

Per South Dakota codified law, the children in an abuse and neglect case are to be assigned an attorney to represent their best interests, but reasonable efforts must be made to try to keep the family together, including potential instruction on parenting.