Pennsylvania

Charge Dropped Against Mom Accused of Leaving Baby With Pennsylvania Bus Driver

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli told NBC10 he prefers to punish people who intentionally commit crimes rather than punishing people who are dealing with mental illness

A charge has been dropped against a Pennsylvania woman accused of leaving her 1-month-old baby with a bus driver after the Northampton County District Attorney determined she was likely dealing with mental health issues.

According to court documents, the 26-year-old woman boarded a LANTA bus in Bethlehem on Saturday, placed her son on the farebox and told the driver to call police because "this was her son that she can't take care of." The police report says she left the bus and walked away in tears.

"She stated that she left the baby with the bus driver because she thought that the father was following her based upon her cellphone GPS," Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said.

Pennsylvania's Safe Haven Law allows babies no older than 28 days to be left at a hospital or police station. The boy was 32 days old at the time of the incident.

The baby was left with a saturated diaper but was otherwise unharmed during the incident. The woman was arrested and initially charged with child endangerment.

"I believe that the Bethlehem Police filing the misdemeanor charge was warranted under the circumstances that they had at that time," Morganelli said.

Morganelli said the woman was erratic and combative after her arrest. He ultimately dropped the endangerment charge and requested that the woman receive a mental evaluation.

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"This lady obviously has some issues that she needs to work out," he said. "The baby is safe and hopefully children and youth now being involved, making sure that the caretakers are able to take care of this child."

Morganelli told NBC10 he prefers to punish people who intentionally commit crimes rather than punishing people who are dealing with mental illness.

The woman had been held in jail for a few days but was expected to be transferred to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Editor's Note: The child endangerment charge against the woman has been dropped. This story has been updated.

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