Toronto Sun

July 15, 2001

Mom dangles tot from SUV

Baby unhurt; mother held in custody by OPP

By JONATHAN KINGSTONE and IAN ROBERTSON -- Toronto Sun

A woman arguing with her husband dangled their 18-month-old baby daughter out of an SUV on Hwy. 401 yesterday, causing shocked motorists to collide to avoid hitting the toddler.

The child -- who was unhurt -- remained in her mother's hands and was lifted back inside the green Jeep Grand Cherokee as her dad stopped along the busy freeway, the OPP said.

MOTHER HELD

Charges were pending last night against the mother, who remained in police custody overnight.

The Children's Aid Society will be contacting the family but had not taken the little girl away from her parents, police said.

"You have a child being held out on traffic," Const. Scott Parker said.

"The 401 at the best of times is not a safe place to be outside a vehicle."

The frightening incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. as the family was driving between 70-100 km/h in the eastbound lanes near Islington Ave.

The couple was "involved in an altercation," police said, refusing to elaborate.

Parker said the woman, sitting in the back seat, "held herself and the toddler out of the rear window in lanes in which traffic was flowing.

"They were both sufficiently outside the vehicle that people had to swerve to avoid the child being dropped," Parker said.

They were outside "long enough to cause an accident," he added.

Several startled motorists veered into other lanes in a desperate bid to avoid hitting the child.

Two cars, including a late-model BMW, crashed.

Although damage was serious, neither driver was injured.

About five motorists were being interviewed at the Downsview station, and the OPP brought in a Vietnamese interpreter to help investigators talk with the parents.

Investigators notified CAS workers, but Parker said they will be "following up" with the family.

The girl -- who was dressed in a bright pink jumper -- smiled as officers took turns playing with her in the detatchment at Keele St. and Hwy. 401.

Her father could also be seen playing with the girl.

Police spirited the man and his daughter, out of the station, away from a crowd of waiting reporters and cameramen.

"He had nothing to do with this," one officer said.

Police did not specifiy what charges might be registered against the woman.

She is scheduled to appear in Old City Hall court this morning.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.