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WEST LINN, Oregon — A West Linn police sergeant said he felt “utter relief” when he found a car reported stolen with a 4-week-old baby inside.
The child’s mother reported her BMW was stolen from a 76 station on Willamette Drive, near Highway 43 in West Linn, with the baby and her dog inside, but the report was false, police said.
Instead, police said 31-year-old Terra Brandenburg crashed the car on the Arch Bridge, then parked at an apartment complex and walked into the gas station store, used the restroom, bought a box of wine and left.
She returned to the store and told the clerk her car was stolen, according to police, then called 911.
Sgt. Burvil Corbin said it was difficult to communicate with Brandenburg when he first arrived at the gas station because she was “an emotional wreck.”
Police realized things weren’t what they seemed when the baby’s father arrived.
“The father of the child had been on the phone with Terra and had learned that she had crashed the car. So he asked a follow up question, ‘how did you get here if you crashed the car?'” said Corbin. “This is all news to me because she had not told us anything like that. She said, ‘I walked here.'”
Corbin and the child’s father sprinted across the street, where they located the car at an apartment complex, with child and dog still inside.
“He was in his car seat. He had his protective Doberman standing over him,” said Corbin.
The infant was fine and was given to his father.
“We’re doing whatever we can to notify what other agencies there are. I called to start an Amber Alert,” said Sgt. Burvil Corbin. “When all that resolved so quickly by finding the car, it was utter relief.”
Brandenburg is charged with child neglect, criminal mistreatment, recklessly endangering another, DUI and initiating a false report. Police said her blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.
She left the Clackamas County Jail on Thursday afternoon after posting bail and is due in court next month.