A mother in Orlando, Florida, faces charges after fleeing from two crashes, flipping her vehicle several times, and injuring her two children, while on their way to a kindergarten graduation.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Ashauntie Cox, 32, was arrested on Friday and charged with three counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, two counts of negligent child abuse with great bodily harm, reckless driving, DUI with property damage and DUI.
Investigators allege that at about 8 p.m. on Friday, Cox was driving southbound on Highway 27 in a Kia when she hit a Chevrolet pickup truck and fled at a high rate of speed.
As she fled, police said, Cox wove in and out of slower traffic until she rear-ended a Honda SUV while passing between the SUV and another vehicle.
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The collision with the SUV caused Cox’s vehicle to flip several times, ejecting her two children – a 5-year-old and 8-year-old – from the vehicle.
The two children were transported to Tampa General Hospital where they were both listed in critical condition.
Also in Cox’s vehicle was a 27-year-old woman who the sheriff’s office said suffered spinal cord, hip and back injuries. She is listed in stable condition at Lakeland Regional Hospital.
The sheriff’s office said the driver of the Honda SUV was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries.
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Responding deputies reportedly detected the smell of marijuana from Cox’s vehicle, and found a bottle of tequila.
Cox was taken to a nearby hospital and told deputies she was driving from Orlando to Avon Park to celebrate her 5-year-old son’s kindergarten graduation.
She also admitted to deputies that she smoked marijuana and had four shots of tequila earlier in the day.
The sheriff’s office alleged that Cox showed signs of impairment, and her blood was drawn for further analysis.
Cox was taken to the Polk County Jail and charged, though further charges are pending a further investigation.
“This woman had no regard for anyone’s life when she got behind the wheel intoxicated and then drove recklessly down a major highway, but what’s worse is the blatant disregard she had for the lives of the innocent children in her car,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “I expect a successful prosecution to hold her accountable — and let’s hope she loses her driving privileges if she’s released from jail or prison. Please keep these babies and their families in your prayers.”