Brooke Johns' 3-year-old son Cohen couldn't make it to the gas station toilet in time
A pregnant mom is facing 60 days in jail after she was issued a citation for letting her 3-year-old son urinate in the parking lot of a Georgia gas station, according to CBS affiliate WRDW.
Brooke Johns was driving through Augusta, Georgia, on March 29 when her toddler son Cohen blurted out that he had to relieve himself sooner rather than later, Johns the news station.
“I was like, ‘Well hold on!’ and he’s like, ‘No! I’ve got to pee! I’ve got to really pee,’” Johns recalled to the outlet. “And I’m like, ‘Baby, there’s nowhere for me to go.’ And he says, ‘Momma, I’m about to pee in my pants!’”
Johns said she quickly pulled over into a gas station parking lot, but did not have time to get Cohen — who is around the age when the potty-training process continues — to a toilet.
“He was peeing before his pants were even all the way down, so obviously he had to go,” said Johns, who added that she was unable to carry her son because of her pregnancy.
The mom, of Beech Island, South Carolina, told WRDW that she did her best to shield her son as he relieved himself, but for a Richmond County Sheriff’s deputy who watched the incident unfold, her efforts did not suffice.
Johns told WRDW that the deputy approached and asked her to take Cohen to the bathroom, which posed a problem: If she rushed her son to the toilet and it was already in use, she’d risk him peeing on the gas station floor.
“What if I would have ran in the bathroom and someone had been in there? What was I going to let him do? Pee on the floor of the gas station?” Johns said.
The deputy issued her a disorderly conduct citation, which WRDW shared online.
The citation reads, “Subject allowed her 2 yo male child to urinate in the parking lot. I observed the male’s genitals and the urination. Public restrooms are offered at the location.”
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE.
Johns told WRDW she is headed to court on April 30, just before her due date, because she’d rather contest the citation while pregnant instead of with a newborn daughter.
According to Title 3 of the county ordinance, she is facing up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In a Facebook post, Johns recounted the incident and said she was standing near her open car door when it happened.
“It isn’t like I had him in the wide open for the entire world to see,” she wrote. “Yes, I should have taken him to the bathroom. Any other day I would have, but this day I didn’t have a chance to run inside… The only thing that was visible are his legs and his pee hitting the ground.”