The 22-year-old woman who authorities say shoved her 5-year-old daughter out of her car on a San Francisco street corner, and then sped off, denied the charges Friday and was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Samantha Patton repeatedly shook her head in court Friday afternoon when she heard authorities recount the alleged details surrounding the single felony charge of child endangerment — a count she formally denied, by pleading not guilty.
Her attorney at the hearing, Jo-Anna Nieves, declined to comment outside court, but she urged San Francisco Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon to release Patton on her own recognizance. She said was about start a new job, had long lived in the city and had no violent criminal history.
But prosecutor Supriya Perry told the court that Patton had a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction and was investigated in 2013 for felony child cruelty in Georgia without being charged. Perry cited the callous nature of the allegation, saying that the child told authorities that Patton “didn’t want to be her mommy anymore.”
“The court does have public safety concerns,” Judge Reardon said in ordering bail increased from $75,000 to $100,000. She cited Patton’s prior run-ins with the law as well as her having lived out of state in Georgia and Arkansas as evidence that she posed public safety and flight risks.
In arguing for higher bail, Assistant District Attorney Perry provided the most detailed account of what allegedly occurred on Monday evening. Perry said witnesses recounted that they saw a car and heard a woman screaming “Get out! Get out!” at the young girl near the city zoo at Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway.
“She shoved the 5-year-old out of the car,” Perry told the court. “The victim’s head hit the asphalt and she landed on her back.” The girl suffered no apparent injury.
Perry said witnesses, including two city paramedics, also reported seeing the driver toss out objects from the car and then drive over them as she sped off, narrowly missing parked cars. “The defendant drove away recklessly,” Perry said.
It was then that the medics and bystanders came to the child’s assistance.
“There was apparently nobody to take care of this child,” Perry told the judge.
Another child, her 1 year old son, was still in the car. The boy’s father, who was spotted leaving the area on a skateboard shortly before the incident, was soon found and led investigators to where the boy was being cared for by a babysitter in Oakland.
He declined comment from outside court on Friday.
Both children are now with Child Protective Services and prosecutors say they are arranging for family members to care for them.