Mom was high on drugs with a baby in the car during high-speed chase, deputies say

A 24-year-old Turlock woman led deputies on a high-speed chase Tuesday while under the influence of drugs - and with her infant 6-month-old infant in the car, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Deputies spotted a silver sedan driving erratically and speeding south on Highway 99 around 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday from the Livingston area. The car almost caused several accidents, deputies said in a statement.

A deputy tried to stop the vehicle but the driver sped away, passing cars from the shoulder of the highway and swerving in and out of traffic at speeds of more than 100 mph, authorities said.


The driver lost control of the vehicle in the area of Highway 99 and Franklin Road in Merced. The car left the roadway and crashed on top of the railroad tracks. The driver, Aleigha Freitas, 24, of Turlock, was taken into custody. The deputies then found her 6-month-old girl strapped in a child seat in the rear passenger area. Freitas and the baby girl did not appear to be injured.

Deputies said Freitas appeared to be under the influence of drugs. She already was wanted on a separate warrant, deputies said. Details of that warrant were not immediately available.

After the officers spoke with Freitas, it was suspected she was under the influence of drugs and had a warrant for her arrest. Freitas and the baby were transported to a local hospital to get checked out. Freitas was then booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony evasion and felony child endangerment.

The child was picked up by the Merced County Child Protective Services.

Freitas was in the middle of the booking process Tuesday afternoon and a mugshot was immediately available.