Pregnant woman says she was forced to walk home in cold after police seized her car
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:16PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2016 9:56PM EST
A Quebec woman, who is eight months pregnant, says she was forced to walk home in freezing temperatures on Tuesday, after a provincial police officer confiscated her car for an unpaid registration bill.
Laura Cerminara, a Grade 10 teacher in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Lambert, said she was driving to school on Tuesday morning when she was stopped by a Surete du Quebec officer on the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
The crossing connects the city to suburbs of Longueuil and Saint-Lambert.
"I started to panic a bit, because it's maybe the second time in my life I've been pulled over," she told CTV Montreal.
The officer told her she had an outstanding car-registration bill, and seized her car on the spot.
"I'm thinking, at this point in time: 'Did we never pay for this? Like I don't understand what's going on,'" she said.
"And I'm really upset. I was crying. I couldn't believe this was happening."
Cerminara said the officer then dropped her off at the entrance to the bridge, several blocks away from transit in the "freezing cold," and made no offer to bring her home.
"I just couldn't believe it," she said.
"That anyone -- it doesn't matter that I'm pregnant -- but that anyone would just be dropped off like that."
Corinne Laydu-Durnin, the secretary at Cerminara's school, said she spoke to her following the incident, and she was "shocked" by the officer's conduct.
"She was crying. She was very upset, and she's 35 weeks pregnant, so I was worried about her," she said.
"I never thought an officer could do something like this to a person."
The Surete du Quebec is looking into the incident to determine if the officer acted inappropriately. If he did, he could face disciplinary action.
The police spoke to Cerminara this morning, but she said no apology was given.
Cerminara is considering filing an official complaint.
"I just felt really shocked and hurt that I live in place where this is how someone can be treated," she said.
But it is clear to her father, Peter Cerminara, that the officer's actions were unacceptable.
"It sounded like my daughter was pleading with him to do a couple of different things to help out, (and he) was like 'No. That's the end of that,'" he said.
"I mean, they've lost themselves. They've lost the role they're supposed to be playing: (Being) a service to the community."
With a report from CTV Montreal's Tarah Schwartz