The mother of a baby who died in a car crash after an off-duty police officer struck a car they were in has been charged with negligent homicide.
According to an arrest report via The Advocate, Brittany Stephens, 20, was arrested Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after police found that her child’s car seat wasn’t secured and the straps were not adjusted correctly for her child’s size. The report also stated that the “lack of securing the seat to the vehicle and the loose straps are a contributing factor in the death of the child” and “show gross negligence.”
Although Stephens wasn’t driving the vehicle when the crash took place, she claimed responsibility for securing the child’s car seat.
The incident took place back on the evening of October 12, 2017, when Baton Rouge Police Officer Christopher Manuel crashed into the vehicle Stephens was in at 94 MPH. The SUV Stephens was in also included three other adults and four children, including her one-year-old daughter.
Stephens was booked into Parish Prison on Tuesday but had been released on $3,600 bail by Wednesday morning. Manuel, 28, was arrested two weeks prior for negligent homicide, as well as speeding. He is currently on paid administrative leave until a decision is made to either terminate Manuel’s position or impose some other disciplinary action.
A number of people have spoken out against Stephens’ arrest, including Baton Rouge representative C. Denise Marcelle.
“She already lost a child,” Marcelle said. “I just think that unless I’m missing something, I’m seriously concerned about it.”
“It’s very sad that a child died, but that doesn’t mean that you go and punish as many people as possible for child’s death,” Ken Levy, an Louisiana State University law professor added. “The principal culprit here is the officer…The mother is being blamed for this tragedy and that just doesn’t seem fair.”
Source: The Advocate