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Mother of three-year-old boy who crossed U.S. 19 arrested

NEW PORT RICHEY – The mother of an unsupervised 3-year-old boy who crossed five busy lanes of U.S. 19 Sunday night was charged with child neglect, police said.

Erica Ortiz, 28, had left her son at a Travel Inn with a man she met earlier that day at the Gulf View Square Mall when the boy walked out, an arrest report states.

Around 7:15 p.m., about a half-hour before sunset, he walked across three northbound lanes, over the median and into the middle southbound lanes, causing drivers to skid across the road to avoid hitting him. A driver who stopped brought the boy back to the motel.

The man Ortiz trusted with her son had fled by the time police arrived, an arrest report states. Ortiz, a New Jersey native living in New Port Richey, gave four different names for the man and was listed as "very uncooperative" during her arrest.

She remains in jail today on $2,000 bond.

Drew Harwell can be reached at or (727) 869-6244.

Mother of three-year-old boy who crossed U.S. 19 arrested 04/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 12, 2010 2:02pm]
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