Update on breastfeeding driver - This is not a breastfeeding thread

  1. This is not a debate about breast feeding!!!!!

    Two articles in today's paper about the breast feeding driver.

    One point I picked out of the first article. Not only was she driving while breastfeeding her child on her lap but during the entire time she was also on a cell phone with her husband.

    Husband told her to nurse and drive, wife testifies

    Friday, August 08, 2003

    By M.R. Kropko, The Associated Press

    RAVENNA, Ohio -- A former Bethel Park woman on trial for breast-feeding her baby while driving on the Ohio Turnpike testified yesterday that she nursed behind the wheel because her husband told her to do it.

    Brad Barnhill comforts his wife, Catherine Donkers, after they read Bible passage together during a recess in her trial on misdemeanor charges for breast-feeding their baby while driving on the Ohio Turnpike. The couple were residents of Bethel Park at the time of the arrest. (Tony Dejak, Associated Press)
    Click photo for larger image.

    Catherine Nicole Donkers, 29, said she had stopped earlier on May 8 at a highway rest stop and fed cereal to her 7-month-old daughter. Donkers said she realized the baby was still hungry after she got back on the road, headed to Michigan from their home in suburban Pittsburgh.

    "I called my husband, and he directed me to continue on, to drive to Michigan and nurse my child in the car. We did not feel we were breaking any law," Donkers said. "I had the cruise control on at 65 mph."

    Donkers, who is representing herself on several misdemeanor charges, called herself to the witness stand and talked yesterday afternoon for more than an hour in Portage County Municipal Court.

    Breast-feeding while driving "certainly isn't a primary choice as a form of feeding my child," she said. "I certainly had no intent to harm my child. I never would."

    Closing arguments were scheduled for today.

    Prosecutor Sean Scahill asked Donkers if she had to use her hands to move the baby while the car was moving. At first, she said no but then said she moved the child from one side to another.

    "I used both hands. For a very short time I did. It took me approximately all of a quarter of a second," she said.

    Brad Lee Barnhill has said he told his wife to nurse while driving to save time.

    "I directed you to do what I thought was in your best interest," Barnhill told Donkers when he testified earlier yesterday.

    On Wednesday, Barnhill was denied his request to stand in for his wife at the trial. The couple belongs to a religious group they say requires Barnhill to be responsible for punishing Donkers.

    Catherine Donkers and her daughter, Seren Barnhill, leave the Portage County Courthouse in Ravenna, Ohio, after court recessed for the day. Behind them is Seren Barnhill's grandmother. (Tony Dejak, Associated Press)
    Click photo for larger image.

    Barnhill, 46, said he and Donkers were in constant communication as she drove. She was stopped after a trucker called 911 to report he had seen a woman driver holding a baby on her lap.

    Donkers refused to pull over for three miles as a state trooper pursued her. When she eventually stopped at a Streetsboro toll booth, troopers said she refused to cooperate until she called her husband for permission.

    The couple says Donkers did not stop immediately because she didn't realize right away she was being followed and she wanted to stop at a public place because she had been assaulted by police before.

    State Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael A. Harmon testified that Donkers handed over what appeared to be a homemade Pennsylvania identification card instead of a driver's license.

    Donkers -- a member of an obscure religious sect that maintains that driver's licenses should not be required -- described the card as an affidavit, Harmon said.

    The couple -- who lack a marriage license but claim to be married -- belong to the First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty, which has a history of challenging state laws.

    The organization, which pledges allegiance to Jesus Christ, was founded in Henderson, Nev., in the 1990s. Barnhill says he is a minister in the fellowship with 650 followers.

    Donkers is charged with child endangering, driving without a license, failure to use child restraint equipment and operating a vehicle while willfully eluding police. She faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    Mixed Ruling for Breast-Feeding Driver

    By M.R. KROPKO
    Associated Press Writer

    RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) -- A woman who breast-fed her baby while driving on the Ohio Turnpike was found innocent of child endangering and convicted of three other misdemeanors on Friday.

    Catherine Nicole Donkers, 29, was found guilty of charges including violating child-restaint laws and driving without a valid driver's license by Portage County Municipal Court Judge Donald Martell.

    Child endangering was the most serious charge she faced.

    On the other three misdemeanors, prosecutors are recommending she be sentenced to 30 days in jail and pay a $500 fine. The maximum penalty is one year in jail and $2,000 fine

    Martell said he would postpone sentencing to investigate Donkers "because I feel I need to know more about you."

    Donkers, who represented herself, is a member of an obscure religion with a history of challenging state laws.

    Donkers was calm as Martell issued his swift ruling just after closing arguments in the three-day trial.

    Donkers said her husband, Brad Lee Barnhill, told her to nurse while driving from Pennsylvania to Michigan. When she pulled over after a three-mile pursuit, she handed over a homemade identification card instead of a license and only cooperated with troopers after getting permission on a cell phone from her Barnhill.
  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    I have been following this case as have many of you...I have NO tolerance for these people and their ignorance...The husband has a control problem and lucky for him he found a woman that wants to be controlled.This faux religion of theirs is a real crock- federal and state laws govern us all -not some wacky religous sect.They don't believe in things like driver's licenses.That tells me that obviously they are also above the laws of the road which means they are endangering every other person on the road...Including their own baby....I could start a church tomorrow-and get ordained over the internet...I think I don't want to pay taxes any longer-or follow policy and procedures at work-they are against my new religion....I think these people should have all of their children taken away -they don't have the sense to raise them.....
  4. by   CATHYW
    My goodness! I am a proponent of breast feeding, but ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe this situation. Pulling to the side to feed the baby would not have delayed her trip by more than 15-20 min. To endanger herself and the baby and everyone else on the road in the name of breastfeeding-absurd!
  5. by   aimeee
    This woman doesn't have the brains that God gave geese.
  6. by   lvn2004
    The woman is crazy in my opinion.
  7. by   CashewLPN
    hmm... albiet disagreeing on ONLY one thing....
    (I dont feel there is a 'false religion'.... but, this is not a debate towards that... if anything...PM ME)

    that woman is a loon.
    no.... wait...
    that is disparaging to loons.
    she's a nut...
    wait.... my cashews got more sence than her....
    she's a mindless person.... a stupid, stupid person.....
    and, I have only one more thing to say.
    45. (sorry.... at least I think its ironicly funny)
  8. by   kids
    Sheesh, its not safe to drive and talk on a cell phone and she was bf and yacking. I just don't understand how she was found innocent of child endangerment.
  9. by   dv8rn
    She actually had the nerve to say that she felt she didn't put her daughter in any unsafe situation. Hello, is anyone in there? She not only put herself and her daughter in danger, what about the poor people driving around not knowing shes a loose cannon. She should get public endangerment as well as child endangerment. Sometimes, I really think there should a test or something to give people befor they get married .
  10. by   night owl
    It's been said many times here.........Some people should NOT be allowed to breed!
  11. by   aimeee
    Isn't it the LAW that all babies be buckled in their CARSEATS? If she only took her hands from the wheel for a few seconds, wouldn't the baby had to have been LAYING ON THE SEAT NEXT TO HER?????????
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes

  13. by   jnette
    We're talking total domination here.This woman has turned her brains over to her husband. And this is what it gets her.

    Then again, if she HAD any brains, she would not have so readly turned them over to him...hmmm... UNLESS there is more to this story.. such as possible severe violence toward the woman in the name of "punishment" for "disobeying".

    Another sad, mixed up mess with dangerous consequences to all involved.
  14. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by Yeti1313LPN
    hmm... albiet disagreeing on ONLY one thing....
    (I dont feel there is a 'false religion'.... but, this is not a debate towards that... if anything...PM ME)

    that woman is a loon.
    no.... wait...
    that is disparaging to loons.
    she's a nut...
    wait.... my cashews got more sence than her....
    she's a mindless person.... a stupid, stupid person.....
    and, I have only one more thing to say.
    45. (sorry.... at least I think its ironicly funny)
    Hey all------do a search and read about this sect-it's a hoot.....This is too good for pm....I bet you didn't know that the "Beast" is actually the social security administration and that "The mark of the Beast" is not 666 but your social security number? Seriously-read their stuff-it is interesting in a sick-"hey look at that road kill! "kind of way....Yeti-Barb-I know you are practicing what some would call an alternative religion-but their is a difference between "a little different" and nuts.......I never thought of FDR as a Devil's disciple....