Pregnant Woman Served HOV Ticket Argues Fetus Is A Passenger

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
A photo os Battone in a floral pattered dress, framing her pregnant stomach with her hands.
youtube | KXAN

The concept of rushing through the HOV lane to get somewhere faster even if you're driving alone is certainly not new, even though it is illegal. What happens when you think you have a passenger, but the police disagree?

That's what happened to one pregnant Texas woman. She was served a ticket and is now arguing that her fetus should count as a passenger.

A woman in Texas made a rather unique argument to fight a ticket.

Brandy battone being interviewed for the news broadcast.
youtube | KXAN

Brandy Bottone was driving down the Central Expressway in Texas a local sheriff stopped her at an HOV checkpoint. To ride in the HOV lane, you need at least two people in the car, but she was seemingly by herself.

The sheriff asked, "Is it just you or is someone else riding with you?"

Battone pointing at her stomach while speaking.
youtube | KXAN

Bottone said, "Oh, there's two of us." When the sheriff asked where, she pointed to her stomach. "My baby girl is right here."

The sheriff replied that it has to be "two bodies outside of the body", as the state's penal code states that a fetus is a person while the transportation code does not.

Bottone didn't find that very fair.

A photo os Battone in a floral pattered dress, framing her pregnant stomach with her hands.
youtube | KXAN

"One officer kind of brushed me off when I mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 'So I don’t know why you’re not seeing that,' I said," she told Dallas Morning News.

She was, in the end, issued the $275 ticket.

Chad Ruback on a video call giving a statement for the news broadcast.
youtube | KXAN

However, she plans to fight it.

Chad Ruback, an appellate lawyer in Dallas, told The Washington Post, "I find her argument creative, but I don’t believe based on the current itineration of Texas Transportation Code that her argument would likely succeed in front of an appellate court."

A victory isn't entirely off the table, though.

An HOV lane sign as seen in the news broadcast.
youtube | KXAN

“That being said, it’s entirely possible she could find a trial court judge who would award her for her creativity," Ruback continued.

"This is a very unique situation in American jurisprudence."

She's certainly got some politicians on her side.

Texas state Representative Brian Harrison tweeted in support of her, saying, "Unborn babies are persons [...] and should be treated accordingly under Texas laws," even saying he'll introduce legislation to confirm this.

Bottone has quite the public fight ahead of her, but she may cause some real law changes to be made.

h/t: The Washington Post