What began as a disagreement over a cellphone has resulted in child abuse charges for a mother of four.
Bridget Olinda Garcia, 32, was charged with child abuse after driving with her 13-year-old son on the hood of her car on April 21, WPTV reports. Garcia had taken her son’s cellphone and after a brief argument with him, strapped her three other children into the car outside her Port St. Lucie, Florida, home. When she tried to leave the house, her teenage son jumped on the hood of the car. According to officials, Garcia’s son was angry that his mother had taken his cellphone and was leaving him at home while she and his siblings went out.
Garcia drove the car in reverse for an estimated 200 feet and then drove forward another 200 feet before stopping the car, at which point, her son fell off and sustained minor injuries to his hip, right knee and foot. His injuries were non-life threatening and the boy was taken to a local hospital. Garcia’s other children were unharmed.
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Driving with another person on top of a car is considered dangerous and, in other situations, has resulted in charges such as aggravated assault, reckless conduct, simple battery and child abuse. In 2014, Catalina Clouser, 21, was charged with child abuse and DUI after smoking marijuana and driving with her 2-month-old infant on top of her car in Arizona. Clouser pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 years of probation.
According to the Discovery Channel, holding onto a moving car is difficult:
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“Unless a car's windows are down, there's little to hold on to when you're on the roof," it says. " Even at speeds under 45 miles per hour … a person can't grip tightly enough to stay atop a car while it's moving. Any turning or stopping only makes matters worse.”
Garcia was arrested and booked at the St. Lucie County Jail, where she remains.