Police arrested Asia Thomas, 23, on suspicion of child endangerment. Police said the bar owner and another patron called police after seeing the children, who are all younger than 4, in the car just before midnight.
“I saw a couple of kids in there, eyes real bright, and it's very hot,” said Bill Russell, owner of The Lakewood Landing.
Police said the car's windows were rolled down. Although it was late at night, the interior of the car got hot, investigators said.
"You think it is unthinkable that a woman would leave her kids in the car this way, go inside and drink until you're intoxicated, (and) then come out and try to drive the kids away,” Senior Cpl. Janice Crowther said.
Russell and another customer watched over the kids until the police arrived.
"I have two daughters myself," Russell said. "It just broke my heart, really sad."
Crowther said Tuesday was the 4-year-old's birthday.
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"This seemed to be a deliberate act while this young mother went inside and just got totally drunk at the bar," she said.
Police said Thomas left the keys in the ignition while she was in the bar. The car also did not have any car seats for the children, investigators said.
The children were placed in the care of Child Protective Services.
Thomas, who was charged with three counts of child endangerment, remained in jail Thursday night.