Arizona police investigators say a woman under the influence of marijuana drove off, leaving her five-week-old baby in its car seat, on top of the car. The car seat tumbled from the top of the car into an intersection and was recovered a short time later by neighbors. The baby was unhurt, but the mother (who police say was at a new location smoking marijuana) never even noticed she had lost her baby.
The driver, 19-year-old Catalina Clouser, was released from jail Sunday morning after being charged with child abuse and aggravated DUI. She admitted to police she had been upset that her boyfriend had been arrested the night before (also on DUI charges) and had been smoking marijuana with her friends.
The baby has since been placed in the care of Child Protective Services and Clouser will likely have to complete drug and alcohol treatment and possibly serve jail time before being reunited with her child. Defensive driving or not, if your child is sitting on the roof of your car, somebody is going to get hurt.
Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said officers responded to a call of a baby strapped into a car seat lying in the middle of the road at 45th Avenue and Cholla Street around 1 a.m Saturday.
“The woman who found him and I were just crying our eyes out,” said a Leilani Gerlach who lives on the corner where the baby was found. “How can someone forget their baby?
The infant was taken to a local hospital to be checked over and is OK, Holmes said.
As police investigated at the scene, two witnesses, identified as friends of the suspect and her boyfriend, walked up and began to talk with officers.
The friends told officers the baby belonged to Clouser.
Holmes said while officers were talking to the friends, Clouser drove back to the scene.