Toddler Badly Burnt At Police Station After Mother Jailed For Traffic Violations

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Tracy Marie Garth was arrested April 25, 2016. The trip, which was supposed to be a shopping vacation for the family, ended up with a trip to the police station instead – where Garth’s eldest would be severely burned.

Garth and her two children — 8 months and 2 years — were on their way to Nashville, TN, when Franklin police officer Sgt. James Phillips pulled her over.

Garth claims that Phillips “accused her of passing a dump truck, striking an orange traffic cone, and failing to stop for law enforcement and speeding” according to the Tennesseean.

However, according to the affidavit signed by Phillips, Garth’s children were improperly restrained in the car. The mother had driven the nearly four-hour trip and had been within 20 miles of her final destination.

Nevertheless, Phillips arrested Garth for, “three counts of felony reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon (her vehicle), two counts of evading arrest with a motor vehicle, driving on closed roads, speeding, improper passing, failing to stop at a red light and two counts of violating the child restraint system.”

The mother, who had never been arrested before and has no criminal record, was booked into the Williamson County Jail, and was separated from her children.

Around the same time that Garth was imprisoned, child protective services were then called to take custody of her children.

While Garth was jailed, her two kids were being held in a break room at the precinct. There, the two-year-old pressed a button on the hot water dispenser and was severely burned by the hot water pouring from the machine.

While ‘protecting’ the children from their mother, police had allowed this 2-year-old to play with a tap of near boiling water.

Making matters worse – according to her recently filed civil rights lawsuit, Garth says that she was forced to strip nude while a male guard was filming.

Garth and her attorneys also allege she was not allowed to make a phone call while in jail nor did she know her son had been severely burned.

In fact, Garth had spent two weeks in jail, still unaware the accident had taken place.

The Mother would have been able to bond out of jail had she been given a phone call, which is standard jail procedure but instead, the young banker was forced to spend the next 14 days in jail with no one to help her and not having any knowledge of her child’s burns.

After leaving the jail, her children were not returned to her and she’s still fighting to regain custody, and she’s now lost her banking job, a position she’d held for more than 10 years.

Garth is now suing the City of Franklin, The Franklin Police Department, the officers involved and others for violating her civil rights.

City of Franklin spokeswoman Milissa Reierson responded to the lawsuit saying Garth’s is only one side to the story.

Reierson said:

Because she could not think to provide any information about who the police should call to take custody of the kids, they were remanded into child protective services. 

Garth disputes Franklin PD’s claims and said she gave the police at least 10 names of individuals to whom they could release her children.

The Mother is suing for 2.5 million dollars for, in essence, kidnapping and allowing her child to be burned by hot water.

The Mother is also suing two Williamson County police agencies and the Tennessee Division of Children’s Services in federal court.


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