Globe and Mail

Mother fails to say why tot held out car window

Monday, July 16, 2001
The Globe and Mail

A woman accused of holding her 18-month-old daughter partly out the window of a sport-utility vehicle while arguing with her husband on Toronto's busiest expressway is due in court this morning after two nights in jail.

The 26-year-old woman was in the back seat of a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by her husband on Highway 401 when the girl was held out the left rear window, causing two nearby cars to crash, police said. No one was hurt.

Ontario Provincial Police Constable John De Souza said it was unclear what might have been going through the woman's mind. "We have none of that. We couldn't get a statement from her."

He dismissed reports that the baby was dangled at arm's length "Half the torso was out the window," he said but confirmed that other motorists feared the worst.

A BMW rear-ended a Chrysler PT Cruiser because the driver believed the child was about to be thrown, he said. "He thought the baby was going to fly, so he tried to avoid that and collided with the car directly in front of him."

The incident happened about 3 p.m. on Saturday in the eastbound lanes near Islington Avenue, where the highway divides into express and local lanes. Constable De Souza estimated that the Jeep was travelling at 70 to 100 kilometres an hour until the other vehicles crashed, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, and all three pulled over to the right shoulder.

The baby was sent home with the 36-year-old father, but child-welfare officials are looking into the family's situation, he said.

The mother was charged with failing to provide the necessities of life for a child, causing a common nuisance endangering public safety and breaching bail conditions imposed in an earlier matter described by Toronto police as "domestic-related." She faces a new bail hearing today.

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.