TORRANCE (CBS) — Torrance police arrested a woman seen driving on the San Diego (405) Freeway with a baby in her lap, a cellphone in one hand and two unsecured children in the back seat, a lieutenant said Wednesday.
Shawndeeia Bowen, 29, of Hawthorne, was arrested about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Lt. Stephen D’anjou said.
A tipster, who saw the woman as he rounded the “South Bay Curve,” called 911.
The caller kept tabs on Bowen, and police stopped her as she exited the freeway. The 1-year-old was still in her lap and the phone still in a hand, according to D’anjou.
A 2-year-old child in the back seat was in a safety seat, but it was not fastened with a seat belt, D’anjou said. A 4-year-old, also in the back seat, did not have a seat belt on.
“In the event of an accident, there’s no way a parent or guardian will be able to stop a child from flying into the windshield of the car so it’s very dangerous,” D’anjou said.
Bowen was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, and the three children were taken into protective custody, police said.
The arrest came as Torrance police joined other law enforcement agencies for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“Her excuse was that, while she was driving on the 91 Freeway near Compton, the 1-year-old started crying and in an effort to comfort the 1-year-old, she pulled the 1-year-old to the front seat,” D’anjou added.
In California, holding a cell phone to an ear while driving is a citable offense, but police can give tickets any time they believe a driver is not devoting enough attention to the road.