A pregnant Texas woman who was ticketed for driving in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane says her unborn baby should count as a second person, citing the Supreme Court's recent. Brandy Bottone told CBS News on Monday that she sees her incident as involving "two people" and plans to fight the ticket in court.
Bottone, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, was on her way to pick up her 6-year-old son on June 29 when she pulled into the two-person HOV lane on the Central Expressway in Dallas. She was stopped at a checkpoint by a Dallas County sheriff's deputy, who asked where her other passenger was.
Bottone told the Dallas Morning News, which first reported the story, that "one officer kind of brushed me off when I mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that's going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 'So I don't know why you're not seeing that,' I said."
Bottone told CBS News that the deputy told her the rule requires "two persons or people outside the body" to be in the vehicle.
Bottone said she told the deputy that she was "Not trying to make a political stance here, but you understand that this is a baby. It's 34 weeks along, and for sure, she's kicking and it's real life."
The deputy responded "It is, what it is," according to Bottone, and then left. A second deputy then walked over to her, told her what she was being cited for, and printed out the $275 ticket, she said.
Bottone said that the deputy told her the ticket would "probably get dismissed," which annoyed her even further.
"I was like, wait, you're telling me that you just wrote me a ticket for an HOV citation, and you're telling me that I can get it dismissed, but now ... I have to go to the courthouse, go fight it?" she said. "And it's just, now you're wasting my time."
"I see this as two people," she added. "The signs, if you drive downtown ... says HOV (2). And I was like one, two, we're checkmarked. We're good. And I guess it just didn't fly that day."
Bottone said she had previously driven in an HOV lane while pregnant with her other two kids, but this was the first time she had been stopped. She also said she used the HOV lane because she feels the other lanes are not the "safest" when traffic is congested.
"I was trying to get safely to my destination," she said. "And I thought there was two people in my car."
The Texas penal code recognizes an unborn child as a person, but the state's transportation code doesn't. Still, Bottone will challenge the ticket and has hired legal counsel.
"We're gonna go next Wednesday, pending I don't go into labor," she told CBS News. "So I really hope I don't."
for more features.