In October of 2017, an off-duty officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department was speeding at 94 miles per hour and crashed his Corvette into a Nissan, killing a 1-year-old girl. Now the police department says it has enough evidence to also charge the mother with homicide.
In February, 27-year-old Christopher Manuel was charged with negligent homicide and speeding in connection with the accident that killed 1-year-old Seyaira Stephens, reported WAFB.
After the charges were brought, the girl’s mother, Brittany Stephens, told WAFB “you just can’t bring her back, and that’s kind of the hardest part.”
However, this week the BRPD arrested the 20-year-old mother on negligent homicide and seat belt violation charges, reported WBRZ.
Police said Tuesday, Stephens did not properly secure her child's car seat.
According to arrest records, the child's car seat was wedged in the console between the driver’s and passenger’s seat in Stephen’s car. Police also said the SUV was overloaded with seven people in a car meant for five, reported WAFB.
Police say the mother’s actions “show gross negligence” and were “a contributing factor in the (girl’s) death,” according to WBRZ.
Although Stephens was not the driver, she told officers she secured the car seat with the baby inside. Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely said she was arrested because she "was the person responsible for the buckling of the car seat."
C. Denise Marcelle, a Democratic state representative, told The Advocate that she “was in shock” when she was made aware of Stephens’ charges.
“I’m a little concerned when we start (arresting) people, especially since she wasn’t driving, with such an offense,” Marcelle told the newspaper. “It’s a bit far reaching to me.”
Manuel, already released on a $15,000 bond, is on paid administrative leave, according to WBRZ.
(Photo: Baton Rouge Police Department)
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