TAVARES — A Leesburg woman was arrested and charged with child neglect, driving without a license, and fleeing police officers after she reportedly fled police at a high rate of speed with an unrestrained child in the vehicle.
According to police reports, 34-year-old Bowonna Rodgers was traveling southbound on US Highway 441 near the Lake Shore Drive intersection in Tavares just after midnight Friday morning when a Tavares Police officer noticed her changing lanes several times.
The officer reported that the license plate affixed on the gold Dodge minivan came back registered to a black Acura sedan.
The officer then turned on their patrol lights and sirens and attempted a traffic stop at which time Rodgers reportedly gained speed and continued on US Highway 441.
Due to the department’s policy of not engaging in high-speed pursuits, the officer then disengaged their lights and sirens and slowed down continuing in the same direction as Rodgers as she traveled at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour.
Shortly after, the officer stated that they saw smoke and smelled burning oil believed to be coming from the vehicle Rodgers was driving.
After following the vehicle and giving several commands over the officer’s patrol vehicle PA system to pull over, Rodgers finally came to a stop near Khol’s on US Highway 441.
Officers approached the vehicle and found a small child sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle with no seat belt or approved child seat.
After running Rodgers’s name through the police database, officers discovered that Rodgers did not have nor never had a valid driver’s license.
Rodgers was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail where she is currently being held with a $17,000 bond.
Due to the child neglect charge, a report was made with the Department of Children and Families.
The child was handed over to an undisclosed person at Rodgers’s request.