Police: Dead toddler's mother arrested after crash because child's seat was wedged in console
BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge Police released additional information on its decision to arrest the mother of a toddler who died in a car crash late last year.
Earlier this week, police said they arrested Brittany Stephens, 20, on negligent homicide and seat belt violation charges. Police said Tuesday, Stephens did not properly restrain her one-year-old in the child's car seat.
In documents related to her arrest, police said Stephens showed "gross negligence,” contributing to the child's death at the time of the crash.
The wreck happened in October on Airline Highway near the Cortana Mall. An off-duty Baton Rouge Police officer, Christopher Manuel, is accused of speeding down the highway and crashing into the SUV Stephens, her child, and others were in. Manuel, police have said, was driving 94 mph at the time, well over the posted 50 mph speed limit.
Some found Stephens' arrest controversial, but police clarified Thursday, the child's car seat was wedged in the console area of the SUV – stuck between the driver's seat and front passenger's seat.
Police have said the SUV was overloaded – as many as seven people in the vehicle rated for 5 passengers.
Previously, police arrested Manuel on charges related to the crash. Manuel was charged with negligent homicide in early February. He has since been released on a $15,000 bond. He remains on paid administrative leave as BRPD continues to investigate the crash.