Woman Charged with Vehicular Homicide for Daughter's Car Seat Death
INSIDE EDITION speaks to the young mother who was at the center of a controversial case that divided the nation.
Should Eileen Jensen have been charged with vehicular homicide because she improperly installed a car seat, causing the death of her three-month-old daughter Chloe?
"I lived my own nightmare... I lived in my own prison," said Jensen tearfully.
Jensen is now speaking exclusively to INSIDE EDITION about the horrible car accident that killed her newborn.
She put her baby daughter in the front seat even though that's against the law in most states because of the danger of exploding airbags.
"I was not aware that it was illegal or there were dangers of putting her in front of an airbag. I didn't even know my car was equipped with airbags," Jensen says.
But, under certain medical conditions, it's allowed. Chloe was born prematurely and had a severe lung condition that made it difficult to breathe.
Jensen says the doctor told her to place Chloe in the front seat so she could closely monitor her.
"She just said, make sure you put her in the car where you see her best," Jensen explained
Video from the accident scene shows how the airbag exploded into Chloe's seat when Jensen rear-ended another car.
Jensen demonstrated how she carefully buckled Chloe in.
"When the airbag deployed which came out of the front dash, it probably hit the back of the car seat, causing her car seat to come up and basically violently shake her brain in her skull"
Chloe was severely injured and for ten months was on a ventilator, eventually dying in her mother's arms.
Jensen's husband Tyler says she's a good mom.
"This was unfortunate, but I don't blame any of it on my wife," he said.
After the tragedy, Jensen became pregnant with another baby girl she named Lily. But just weeks after Lily was born, Jensen found herself in a Spokane, Washington, court, charged with a serious crime.
Jensen pled not guilty.
At her arraignment, supporters wore pink t-shirts saying "Drop the charges" and "Eileen and her family have been punished enough."
Jensen was thinking about her new baby girl.
"I looked down at her and I just start crying thinking, 'Now you are going to be taken from me, now I have you that I won't be able to nurse, and now I have you that I won't be able to take care of because the want to charge me with vehicular homicide."
"Do you think they tried they make an example of you?" asked INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero.
"Yes, I do think they were trying to make an example of me," Jensen said.
But after more than two and a half years of living with the possibility of prison, the judge dismissed the charges because of a lack of evidence.
"I just fell to the floor because I put my life on hold," she explained.
Jensen says losing her daughter is a punishment she'll have to live with for the rest of her life.
"Do you feel guilty?" asked Guerrero.
"How could you not have guilt? I had guilt from day one, she was my daughter in my care and I was supposed to be the person to protect her," Jensen said.
Jensen says she's telling her story so other mothers will know the importance of properly installing car seats.