Mom charged in baby’s death after off-duty cop crashed at 94 mph into their vehicle
Louisiana woman charged with fatally neglecting safety of her child
In a bizarre turn, a Louisiana mother has been arrested on homicide charges after an off-duty police officer crashed into the car she was riding in, killing her 1-year-old baby.
Brittany Stephens, 20, was arrested on Tuesday after police discovered that her daughter’s car seat was not secured and the straps were not adjusted correctly for the child’s height, according to her arrest report.
The development comes weeks after the officer himself was arrested on charges related to the Oct. 12, 2017 crash.
Accused of neglecting safety
Authorities say 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” on the mother’s part.
Stephens posted bail and was released, authorities said.
Although the posted speed limit for that road was 50 mph, off-duty officer Christopher Manuel struck a Nissan carrying four adults and four children while driving his Corvette at speeds approaching 100 mph, police said. He was charged with negligent homicide.
Even though she wasn’t driving either car involved in the crash, police spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said she was arrested because she “was the person responsible for the buckling of the car seat.”
According to The Advocate, “Breea Gross, 18, was driving when the crash occurred and was cited for driving without a license, seat belt violation and three counts of child safety restraint violation. Janice Gross, 40, was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive her vehicle and seat belt violation. Seth Eames, 23, also cited for seat belt violation.”
Manuel, 28, was arrested Feb. 16, and is currently on paid administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed, but the formal inquest will not begin until he recovers from his injuries and is released to work by a doctor. He was booked and released on bail.