Mom Who Drove Off With Baby on Roof Gets Slap on Wrist

mug shot of Catalina Clouser

Two years ago, Catalina Clouser smoked marijuana at a friend's house before placing her 2-month-old on the ROOF of her car and driving 12 miles to her home before she realized the infant was not actually in her car. Sounds like a parent's worst nightmare, doesn't it? Something you could totally picture yourself doing while in the midst of major postpartum fatigue? The difference is Catalina was under the influence of drugs and let this affect her decision-making abilities when it came to her child.

Thankfully, her baby was found in the middle of a Phoenix highway by a passerby and was completely unharmed. Catalina, who is now 21, pleaded guilty to child abuse and DUI and was recently sentenced -- to a mere 16 years of probation.


To her credit, the young mom took complete responsibility for her actions after initially pleading not guilty. She knows what she did was wrong, and she was just a 19-year-old kid dealing with the stress of a newborn when she made the choice to smoke pot before driving her baby home.

More from The Stir: Pot-Smoking Mom Who Left Baby on Car Roof & Drove Away Isn't Fit to Parent

But the only reason this story didn't have a completely horrific ending is because of sheer luck -- nothing more. The odds that an infant placed on the roof of a car would survive being driven miles seems like a long shot, to put it mildly. Catalina may have learned her lesson, but the punishment she received still doesn't fit the crime.

Maybe a judge didn't feel it would benefit the baby to sentence Catalina to time behind bars and tear her away from her mother. I can understand the logic behind that decision. But I would argue that mom should also be required to attend rehab. As someone who doesn't think pot is a huge deal, I say this because I feel a responsible marijuana smoker would know better than to indulge around young children or before driving them home.

Probation without help seems like little more than a slap on the wrist -- and this mom and her child require and deserve more than that.

Do you think this was a fair punishment for this mom's actions? What would you propose?


Image via Phoenix Police Department

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