DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Cops: Mom Hid Infant In Trunk To Avoid Ticket

Teen did not have car seat, so baby went in boot

Dodge Stratus

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Baby Rides In Trunk

SEPTEMBER 24--Fearful that she would get ticketed for not having a car seat, a Florida woman, 19, drove around early yesterday with her five-month-old baby inside the trunk of her car, police allege.

After spotting a passing 2005 Dodge Stratus with one of its headlights out, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies sought to pull over the vehicle around 1 AM. The motorist, later identified as Breona Synclair Watkins, continued driving for several blocks before stopping her vehicle.

When a deputy asked Watkins why she did not immediately stop the car, “she said she has never been pulled over before,” according to a sheriff’s report. After giving deputies a false name, Watkins subsequently “advised that that she lied about her name because she does not have a license.” Watkins was then arrested and placed in a patrol car.

During the stop, a second cop “heard crying from the vehicle and there was no child in the vehicle.” Upon opening the trunk, an investigator found Watkins’s baby inside. The infant was atop a “large pair of bush cutting shears” and was surrounded by other potentially dangerous items, like a tire iron, a rusty hanger, a fuel pump, and plastic bags.

While being questioned, Watkins said that the baby had been in the lap of a 14-year-old male passenger (whose mother owns the Dodge). But when cops tried to initiate a traffic stop, she directed the boy to stash the baby in the trunk “through the rear seat opening which folds down.”

Cops noted that during the 15 minutes prior to the baby’s discovery, Watkins and the boy did not tell deputies that “there was a 5 month old child alone in the enclosed trunk.” Watkins, investigators added, “did not want to get a ticket for having her child not in a car seat.”

For trying to avoid a ticket, Watkins was charged with felony child cruelty, resisting an officer, driving without a license, and four vehicular charges. The Lauderdale Lakes resident is being held in the county jail in lieu of $7000 bond. (3 pages)