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Arizona mother who left baby on top of car gets probation

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A Phoenix mother who left her baby in a safety seat on the roof of her car as she drove home from a friend's house was sentenced on Wednesday to 16 years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to child abuse and driving under the influence of marijuana.

Catalina Clouser, 21, faces three months in jail if she fails to successfully complete her probation in connection with the 2012 incident, said Vincent Funari, a spokesman for Maricopa County Superior Court said.

Her 2-month-old son was found unhurt in the middle of a Phoenix highway, still strapped into his car seat, a short distance from where Clouser took off with him still on the roof of her car.

"I just want to say, I do know that what I did was horrible," Clouser said, speaking in a low voice during sentencing before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Bailey, local television news footage showed.

Clouser had pleaded guilty in February to one count each of child abuse and driving under the influence.

Police said she had been smoking marijuana with friends when she came out of the house and got into her car. The woman placed the baby on the roof and drove about 12 miles home before she realized the child was not inside the vehicle.

(Reporting by David Schwartz, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Gunna Dickson)

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