In October 2017, Louisiana mom Brittany Stephens was sitting in the passenger seat of her SUV, riding with her friends and 1-year-old daughter, when they were hit by a vehicle going 94 mph.
The driver, Christopher Manuel, an off-duty Baton Rouge police officer, was going more than 40 mph over the speed limit, WSBTV reports.
The car in which Stephens and daughter Seyaira were riding flipped over and the infant was left in critical condition. Two weeks later, she passed away.
Manuel was charged with negligent homicide for the death. But now the mother is facing charges as well.
According to WBRZ, Stephens was arrested last week for negligent homicide because she failed to strap the child’s car seat in correctly.
At the time of the crash, police say the car seat was wedged between the front two seats of the car and wasn’t strapped in. So the infant was not properly secured when Manuel slammed into the SUV.
This was likely because the car was overloaded with more passengers than should have been in the vehicle, WBRZ reports.
There were at least seven people inside at the time of the incident.
Despite not driving the vehicle or causing the crash, Stephens now faces the same charge as Manuel due to her “gross negligence.”
And some members of the community feel the charge is too harsh. Louisiana state representative C. Denise Marcelle told the Advocate:
“I’m a little concerned when we start (arresting) people, especially since she wasn’t driving, with such an offense. It’s a bit far reaching to me.”
The unlicensed 18-year-old who was driving the mother’s car, Brea Gross, has been charged with seatbelt violations and driving without a license, according to WAFB.
Manuel is currently on paid administrative leave as Baton Rogue police investigate.
Stephens was released on bond but has not spoken out publicly since her arrest last week.