“Mother of the Year” charged after texting while driving with baby on lap

From KTLA News

TORRANCE, Calif. (KTLA) — A local woman was charged with seven misdemeanor counts Thursday for allegedly texting while driving — with an infant on her lap — on the 405 freeway.

Shawndeeia Bowen, 29, was charged with three counts of child endangerment, two counts of violating a court order and one each of driving without a license and driving on a suspended license — according to the Torrance City Prosecutor’s Office.

She also is accused of three infractions, two involving a child not restrained by a seatbelt and one for driving while using a wireless phone, according to prosecutors.

Bowen was arrested on Tuesday after another driver spotted her on the northbound 405, according to Lt. Steve D’Anjou.

“A citizen saw it and thought it was so dangerous that he called 911 on his cell phone and continued to follow her the whole way,” D’Anjou said.

Torrance police pulled Bowen over at Hawthorne and Torrance boulevards.

Officers she still had the cell phone in her hand and her baby in her lap.

Police say the single mother 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.

This was not Bowen’s first run-in with traffic officers.

DMV records show Bowen collected numerous citations between 2009 and 2012.

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.

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.

She is due back in court on April 12.

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.