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Mother held on suspicion of texting while driving with baby in lap

April 5, 2012 |  7:39 am

A mother of three was arrested this week on suspicion of texting while driving with an infant in her lap on the 405 Freeway, police said.

Shawndeeia Bowen, 29, was arrested Tuesday after another driver spotted her on the northbound 405, according to Lt. Steve D'Anjou of the Torrance Police Department.

"A citizen saw it and thought it was so dangerous that he called 911 on his cellphone and continued to follow her the whole way," D'Anjou said, according to KTLA-TV.

Torrance police pulled over Bowen at Hawthorne and Torrance boulevards. Police said she still had the cellphone in her hand and her baby in her lap. Police say Bowen claimed the baby was crying.

"To help soothe the 1-year-old, she decided to pull her up to the front seat and try to calm her down," D'Anjou said.

He said officers also found a 2-year-old boy in an unsecured car seat and a 4-year-old girl who was not wearing a seat belt.

Her arrest comes as the CHP and other law enforcement agencies around the state are cracking down on distracted driving this month. The agencies are focusing on drivers who text, talk on their cellphones, apply makeup and engage in other none-driving activities while behind the wheel.

Bowen's arrest was not her first run-in with traffic officers. DMV records show Bowen collected numerous citations between 2009 and this year.

The citations include: not having insurance, not wearing a seat belt, not having a valid driver's license, driving with a missing license plate, not obeying traffic signals, not using child restraints, having defective lights and having a defective windshield or rear window, DMV records show.

Bowen has been in two car accidents, was cited several times for driving with a suspended license and failed to appear in court nine times, records show.

Bowen has been jailed on suspicion of child endangerment, police said. Her bail was set at $130,000. The children were taken into custody by authorities with the Department of Children and Family Services.

"I've never heard of anything like this before, and based on how dangerous it is, I hope we never hear about anything like this again," D'Anjou said.


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