The children had no adults with them and lacked proper clothing for the weather conditions; it was 25 degrees with a wind chill of factor of 12 degrees at noon that day, Dickinson said.
"The children stated they were there because they were cold and needed a drink," the chief said.
They were fed by the restaurant staff. Meanwhile, police began an investigation.
Police traced the children to a home in the 1500 block of Dean Drive. The children told police they had not seen their mother since earlier in the morning; they hadn't eaten lunch or dinner the day before.
Officers went to the home and found the front door ajar. They rang the doorbell, but got no answer.
After several minutes, a woman identified by police as Christina Marie Fitzwater, 32, came downstairs from a bedroom.
Dickinson said Fitzwater told police she had not seen the children since 9:40 a.m. She claimed to have left them in the care of another child, aged 12.
After learning that the 12-year-old had left home the night before on a trip, officers took Fitzwater into custody, the chief said.
She was charged with child endangerment, recklessly endangering another, possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Fitzwater was arraigned by District Judge Maurice H. Saylor of New Hanover Township and released on $500 bail. Because of the hit-and-run, bail was later revoked in the neglect case.
In addition to the DUI, Fitzwater also faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident and motor vehicle violations, police said.
The children were placed with a relative by Montgomery County Children and Youth Services. Their father is believed by police to be deceased.
Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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