Mom accused of driving off with baby on roof of car


19-year-old Catalina Clouser (Mugshot courtesy: WREG-TV)

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PHOENIX, Ariz. -- An Arizona mother reportedly admitted to leaving her baby in a car seat on top of the vehicle she was driving after a neighbor found the child in the middle of an intersection.

Catalina Clouser, 19, was charged with one count each of aggravated DUI and child abuse after she admitted to the incident, according to KPHO-TV.

Officers responded to the intersection of 45th Avenue and Cholla Street around 12:45 a.m. Saturday after a neighbor found the 5-week-old infant lying in the intersection still strapped to a car seat.

The infant was taken to an area hospital, where it was found to be uninjured, the station reports.

Clouser returned to the intersection in her 2000 Ford Focus while officers were still speaking with other witnesses.

The witnesses -- who had been with Clouser and the child's father, 19-year-old Manuel M. Pena, earlier in the evening -- admitted to smoking marijuana with them at a nearby park around 10:30 p.m., the station reports.

After smoking, Pena reportedly drove with Clouser and their child to purchase beer.

Pena was stopped by police and charged with aggravated DUI for driving with the baby in the car.  Police told the station he had never been issued a driver's license.

Clouser and the child were driven home by officers.

Police said the mother was upset over the arrest of her boyfriend, so she got in her car and drove to the home of the witnesses near the intersection where the baby was found. There, the witnesses and Clouser admitted to smoking "one or two more bowls of marijuana," KPHO reports.

Police said Clouser apparently drove off from the witnesses' home having forgotten the baby, who she had placed on top of her car while getting ready to leave.

Clouser did not realize her mistake until she arrived at her own home, which was about twelve miles away from the scene, police told the station.

The child is now in the custody of state Child Protective Services.


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