ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - The parents of a three-year-old Orangeburg County boy who accidentally shot himself are facing neglect charges.
Timothy Ryan Collins II, 29, and Brittany Collins, 25, of Branchville, have been charged with unlawful neglect of a child, Orangeburg County Sheriff's spokesman Richard Walker said.
Both turned themselves in and a judge set personal recognizance bonds of $5,000 for each, Walker said.
"It's a frightening situation that could have been made more tragic," Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. "We feel for this family but we have a duty to protect this child when the parents become careless."
The charges stem from the Feb. 24 incident in which their child accidentally shot himself in the upper body while the family was at an Orangeburg business.
Deputies say the child's father had a flat tire earlier that day and had called his wife to pick him up. Before leaving his vehicle on the side of the road, he removed his handgun and placed it in his wife's car with their three-year-old son, investigators said.
They traveled to a vehicle salvage yard to locate a part to repair the vehicle, deputies say. While there, the boy picked up the gun and apparently shoot himself.
The boy's condition is not known but he remains hospitalized, Walker said. Walker confirmed Thursday is the child's fourth birthday.