Gwinnett County

Mom who let son ride in trunk in viral video says there’s more to the story

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County mother says she’s taking accountability after a viral video of her son in the trunk of her moving car led to her arrest this week.

Diana Shaffer, 36, says she never told her 12-year-old son to get in the trunk but recognizes that mistakes were made. She says she doesn’t want her arrest to overshadow the work she does to help single mothers in metro Atlanta.

“I would never want to put him intentionally in danger,” she said. “I am very active in my son’s life. My son is my biggest investment and he is the best thing that happened to me.”

Shaffer told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that she and her son were heading to Duluth from Buford on Saturday but the bassinet that she picked up wasn’t broken down. Because it wouldn’t fit in the backseat, she said she told her son to sit on top of the folded-down backseat and hold onto the bassinet.

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At some point, without a seat belt on, she says he made his way to the trunk without her knowledge.

“I told him to sit right here and to hold the leg of the bassinet because the trunk was up,” she said. “Him being a kid, he climbed up, and went and peeked his head up to look at the oncoming cars,” she said.

Shaffer says she often picks up baby items that people donate or give away so that she can collect them and distribute them to single mothers in Gwinnett County and other metro counties. On Saturday, she says she was heading to a warehouse to store the bassinet with other items that she collected through her organization called Hanging On To Positive Expectations.

“I love to be able to give back,” she said, “because that’s the love that I have.”


The video posted to social media by a driver led to a Gwinnett County Police investigation and Shaffer’s arrest on Tuesday for reckless conduct and a seat belt violation. Pictures from a Flock camera at Pleasant Hill Road and Shackleford Road gave investigators additional photo evidence that showed Shaffer’s son’s head visible in the trunk.

Shaffer says she’s not angry at anyone else for her arrest. Instead, she’s thankful.

“I want to thank [police and the person who recorded the video] for the opportunity to be able to learn something from this,” she said. “I know the potential harm [my son] could have been in and I would have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

She says the night she spent in jail was a tough lesson but an unforgettable one.

“This was a learned lesson and I would never put him in jeopardy like this ever again,” she said.

Shaffer says she will continue to drive across the metro for baby items to give away to struggling single mothers.

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