COLLIN COUNTY, Texas – When Brandy Bottone, by herself, used the Central Expressway’s high occupancy vehicle lane in Dallas County, she was 34 weeks pregnant.
In a lane intended for cars with two or more passengers, she believed it was reasonable to assume the youngster she is holding is a passenger.
On June 29 at 8:15 a.m., she was stopped by a Texas DPS officer and asked whether there were any other passengers.
I was like, ‘Uh, this!’ she said, pointing at her stomach. “I thought, “Right here, she is.” He just asked me, “How do I respond to this?” Brandy remembered.
Bottone of Plano says to WFAA that she was merely trying to contest a ticket at the time and wasn’t trying to make a statement. To put things in perspective, Roe v. Wade had just been overruled a few days prior, and Texas was about to outlaw abortion.
“This baby is jabbing my ribs, and one law says it’s a baby, but the other just told me it’s not. Why doesn’t anything make sense?” Her question was rhetorical.
She received a $275 penalty for an HOV violation since the officer didn’t believe her justification.
She remembers the officer saying at the time, “‘Ma’am, it’s two persons outside of the body,’ which is a bizarre way of expressing it.
The online explanation of the HOV regulation provided by the Texas Department of Transportation leaves some questions. “A vehicle occupied by two or more persons,” it simply says.
Even the officer acknowledged that she could contest the ticket, and hundreds of individuals—possibly thousands—of people on social media concur.
“Just the worldwide outpouring of female solidarity… all kinds of feelings. I’m attempting to maintain healthy blood pressure, so let’s delay going into labor “Brandy snickered.
The mother of three is remaining politically unaffiliated. She has heard arguments on all sides of the abortion controversy over the past few days.
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She will, however, state: “If there is a pro-women category, that is my view.”
Bottone, who is currently 36 weeks pregnant, has retained legal counsel and will contest her ticket in court in late July.
If her daughter doesn’t come first, that is.