Baby dropped out of car during police chase


Tuesday, September 14, 2004 Posted: 5:36 PM EDT (2136 GMT)
The driver slows down and opens the car door during a police chase.
The driver drops a baby, who was in a car seat, onto the highway.
The 8-month-old infant tumbles on the road as the driver speeds away.
Police rush to the baby and find her scared but without injuries.

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (AP) -- A man dropped his fiancee's 8-month-old daughter out of a car as he fled police after being accused of domestic violence, authorities said.

The girl, strapped in a car seat, was unhurt but the man later was fatally injured in a crash.

Dana Bettin, 23, died Sunday, three days after the dramatic highway chase that ended when he crashed his fiancee's car into an unoccupied squad car.

At one point, he slowed down, opened the car door and dropped the baby in the car seat onto the highway, sending it tumbling toward the middle of the roadway.

"As the baby was flying toward me I noticed that she was crying very hard and looked scared," Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. David Catalano said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, which aired video of the incident.

"Fortunately she was seat-belted into the child seat so that as it slid forward on the highway and then rolled over she escaped without any injuries," he said.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Pamenter told The Post-Crescent in Appleton that the man at first tried to put the baby out of the car on the shoulder, but the door car was in his way. He eventually pulled back into traffic and pushed the baby out as he was accelerating.

"His car was jerking back and forth," Pamenter said. "I didn't know what he was doing. He seemed to care for the baby."

"I was pretty certain he wasnt going to stop until he crashed," Pamenter said.

The chase continued at speeds up to 100 mph.

The pursuit ended on U.S. 41 when Bettin had a minor collision with a vehicle and then crashed into an unoccupied squad car. The car he was driving rolled over and he was pinned underneath. He died at a hospital in Green Bay.

Catalano spoke to the baby's mother on Monday and said the girl is going fine.

"Her mother is very devastated about everything right now," he said. "It was her fiance involved and she's very upset."