Mom Who Left Babies Alone In Hot Car Explains Her Decision

05/21/2015 10:41 am ET | Updated May 22, 2015

Shanesha Taylor first made headlines last year when she was arrested for leaving her two young sons in a hot car while she went to a job interview in Scottsdale, Arizona. Homeless at the time, the single mom was desperate to land the position that she describes as a life-changing opportunity.

But that desperation led to a near-tragic decision. In the video above, Taylor explains what led her to leave her then 6-month-old baby and 2-year-old alone in a hot car — possibly over 100 degrees — in March 2014. After her babysitter fell through, she explains, "I became frantic, but I knew I couldn't miss this interview." So she drove to the job interview with her two kids, who fell asleep in the car. Believing the interview would take only 15 minutes, she decided to leave her sons in the car with the windows cracked. Taylor recalls, "I peeked in the back window at the boys and said, 'Fifteen minutes, let's go!'"

But the interview took more than 15 minutes, and Taylor felt she had no choice but to continue meeting with her potential employers. "You know this job is going to take care of your family. How do you say, 'Stop the interview, because I need to go?'" she asks.

By the time she returned to the car, the police were waiting.

"After I finished the interview," she says, "I was on top of the world. As soon as I turned the corner into the parking lot, my life came crashing down."

Taylor was arrested and charged with two felony counts of child abuse and spent 11 days in jail. Her tearful mugshot went viral, prompting an outpouring of sympathy. Strangers sensitive to her efforts to create a better life for her family donated more than $100,000 to a crowdfunding page set up on her behalf. She was offered a deal to avoid prosecution, but the deal required her to allocate the donated money to a trust for her children. Why didn't she comply, and how does she respond to allegations that she misused the donations?

On Thursday's episode of Dr. Phil, Taylor opens up about the incident. In hindsight, does she think she made a mistake?

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