A Livingston Parish woman was arrested and her unrestrained 17-month-old daughter hospitalized following a vehicle pursuit and crash Friday near the north gates of LSU, authorities said.
Patricia Munzey, 31, broke into a 2008 Suzuki owned by her sister, Jasmine Cedotal, between 9:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m. Friday, Walker Police Cpl. Mark Fruge said.
Munzey took the keys inside the sport utility vehicle and used them to break into Cedotal’s house on Hodges Lane in Walker, Fruge said.
Munzey then took her daughter from Cedotal, who has been rearing the toddler since she was four weeks old because of Munzey’s alleged drug use, Fruge said.
Cedotal found her sister and SUV about 10:40 a.m. in Baton Rouge near Government and North 15th streets and called city police, spokesman Sgt. Don Stone said.
Police arrived and tried to pull Munzey over but she fled and a chase ensued, Stone said.
At one point during the pursuit, Munzey collided with another vehicle, Stone said. At another point, Munzey let Kenneth Jordan, 45, out of the SUV.
Police arrested Jordan, 317 Lafayette St., and booked him into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of illegal possession of stolen things.
Munzey then drove on but lost control of the vehicle on East Washington Street near Highland Road, flipping several times, barreling through a chain-link fence and knocking down utility poles, Stone said. The SUV came to a stop on its left side after hitting an unoccupied parked van.
Munzey sat inside the SUV with her child in her arms, Stone said. Police had to forcibly remove the child from the vehicle because Munzey was using her as “a human shield in an attempt to resist officers,” Stone said.
The child was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. She will be cared for by family upon release.
Munzey, 20601 Texas St., Livingston, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of aggravated flight from an officer, resisting an officer and first-degree vehicular negligent injury.
Fruge said Munzey faces the following counts in Walker: theft of a motor vehicle, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, damage to property and felony theft.
Roland Langill was standing in front of his East Washington Street home when the crash occurred. He said Munzey must have been traveling 80 mph when she shot through the intersection at Highland Road and became airborne.
“I heard a crash, a bang, and then silence,” Langill said. “I expected to see the coroner here. It was that bad.”
Joyce Square, who also lives near where the wreck occurred, said she was inside watching television when she heard a “bang, screech and roar.”
When she walked outside her front door she smelled rubber and saw police with their guns drawn. She said “she knew someone was dead” when she saw a crumpled blue SUV smashed into the side of a white van.
Warren Johnson said he drove the van to Baton Rouge Rehabilitation Hospital on East Washington earlier Friday and was inside the hospital laying tile when the crash occurred.
“I’m glad I wasn’t outside when it happened,” he said, adding that he could have easily been getting tools out of the van.