Woman who left baby on car roof sentenced

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
Catalina Clouser By Jennifer Thomas Catalina Clouser By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A woman who left her baby on the roof of her car then drove away has been sentenced to 16 years of supervised probation and three months of deferred jail.

Catalina Clouser, 21, pleaded guilty to child abuse and misdemeanor DUI in February.

Prosecutor Tiffany Brady strongly recommended three months in jail.

"It's clear by the statements from the defendant's mother to me that she's [Clouser] not taking it seriously," Brady said. "It's my understanding that the defendant is pregnant again."

Defense attorney Jennifer Willmott asked the judge to not send Clouser to jail.

"She [Clouser] has shown she is not somebody who did this because she intended to," Willmott said. "She did it as a complete accident."

Willmott also told the judge that Clouser has not failed any drug tests in the past two years and that she has been going to counseling and attending parenting classes.

Clouser sees her son four days a week and has developed a bond with the boy, according to Willmott.

Clouser's baby was found sitting in a car seat in the middle of the road near 45th Avenue and Cholla Street in June 2012.

The child was not injured.

Phoenix police said Clouser had been smoking marijuana with friends earlier in the night. When she left her friends' home, she forgot that she had left her child sitting on top of her car. She drove 12 miles before realizing the infant wasn't in the car.

Police arrested her when she returned to the scene.