A Lauderdale Lakes woman is accused of driving with her 5-month-old baby in the trunk of a car to avoid getting a ticket for not having a car seat.
Broward sheriff's deputies conducting a traffic stop early Tuesday found the baby lying on a pair of large hedge-cutting shears and surrounded by potentially hazardous items, Judge John "Jay" Hurley said, reading from a police report during first-appearance court Tuesday afternoon.
Breona Synclair Watkins, 19, was arrested and charged with child abuse, resisting an officer and five traffic-related offenses, including driving without a license and failure to have a child restraint.
At about 1 a.m., a Broward sheriff's deputy noticed a headlight was out on a silver 2005 Dodge Stratus driven by Watkins, Hurley said. The deputy watched as Watkins traveled 15 feet into an intersection at a red light and then backed up, disrupting traffic.
When the deputy initiated a traffic stop, Watkins went through the green light and turned down another street, driving for about a quarter-mile before pulling over, Hurley said. A 14-year-old sitting in the front passenger seat told the deputy the car belonged to her mother.
As the deputy headed back to the cruiser, another deputy heard crying coming from inside the trunk. They opened it and found Watkins' baby, Hurley said.
The infant had been sitting in the passenger's lap, but Watkins didn't want to get ticketed for not having a car seat, so she told the 14-year-old to put the baby in the trunk through an opening in the back seat, Hurley said. Watkins told the teen to put up the seat to hide the infant from deputies and then drove about a half-mile with the baby in the trunk.