Recently, Brittany Stephens, 20, suffered the loss her one-year-old baby girl, Seyaira, after an off-duty cop struck their vehicle with his Corvette.
“She was very fun, loving and outgoing. She was a fast learner,” Stephens said. “She was getting potty trained. Walking, talking, everything.”
According to The Advocate, the crash took place on October 12, 2017, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Officer Christopher Manuel, 28, hit a Nissan transporting four adults and four kids at around 8 pm. Police say the off-duty officer was driving his Corvette at speeds close to 100-mph on the road with a posted speed limit of 50mph.
At the time, the Nissan was being driven by 18-year-old Breea Gross, who was making a legal left turn at a green light when Manuel collided with the car. All eight occupants were treated at a local hospital for their injuries. However, baby Seyaria did not survive, later dying from trauma suffered during the crash.
Stephens reportedly, told police that she secured Seyaira in her child seat. However, investigators concluded that the child seat was not properly secured and the straps were inadequately adjusted to the child’s height.
The young mother was recently arrested and charged with negligent homicide in the death of her daughter.
Police also cited the teen driver for driving without a license, a seat belt violation, as well as, three child safety restraint violations.
Janice Gross, 40, was cited for a seatbelt violation and for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate her vehicle. And Seth Eams, 23, was also cited for a seatbelt violation.
Manual was hospitalized after the crash and later arrested on Feb. 16, charged with one count of negligent homicide. The officer is to remain on paid administrative leave until the conclusion of an internal investigation by his department. However, the inquiry can not begin until Manual is released and cleared for work by his doctor.
So Manual, unlike Stephens, will continue to collect paychecks while awaiting his likely slap on the wrist, while a grieving young mom could face prison for his mistake. Still, even if they send the cop to prison and exonerate the mother, in many ways the damage is already done.
The district attorney should have never pursued charges against anyone other than Manual. This move is a troubling sign that the city may try and use alleged “crimes” committed by the officer’s victims as a smokescreen to obscure the sweet-heart plea deal they’re going to quietly offer to Stephens.
Featured image via YouTube.