POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A 32-year-old Orlando woman faces charges on suspicion of driving under the influence and causing two crashes that ejected two children in her vehicle, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Ashauntie Cox was driving a blue Kia southbound on U.S. Highway 27 around 8 p.m. Friday when she struck a gray Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck at the intersection with U.S. Highway 98 near Frostproof. Cox then fled the scene at a high rate of speed, officials said.
According to an arrest report, Cox continued to speed recklessly south on U.S. Highway 27, weaving in and out of traffic. She rear-ended a Honda CRV while trying to pass between that SUV and the vehicle next to it, both of which were also driving southbound, according to deputies.
Sheriff’s officials said the second crash caused Cox’s vehicle to flip several times, ejecting two children, ages 5 and 8, from her car.
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Orlando woman arrested by PCSO for DUI with serious bodily injury and fleeing from two crashes: She told deputies she was driving from Orlando to Avon Park with the 5 yo & 8 yo kids in her car to celebrate a kindergarten graduation. With tequila. They're critically injured. https://t.co/kNylQBMvp0— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff) May 22, 2023
The children were taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to the report.
A passenger in Cox’s vehicle, a 27-year-old woman, was also seriously injured. Deputies said the woman suffered injuries to her spinal cord, hip and back. She remains at a hospital in stable condition.
The CRV driver was taken to a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and was later released, deputies said.
Deputies said when they arrived at the scene of the second crash, they detected the odor of marijuana and located a bottle of tequila in Cox’s vehicle.
Cox was taken to a hospital and interviewed by deputies and told them she was driving from Orlando to Avon Park to celebrate the 5-year-old’s kindergarten graduation.
According to the report, Cox admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and to drinking four shots of tequila.
Deputies said she displayed several signs of impairment and her blood was drawn for further analysis.
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Cox was booked into the Polk County jail and faces the following charges: three counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, two counts of negligent child abuse with great bodily harm, reckless driving, one count of DUI with property damage and one count of DUI.
“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. 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,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Further charges are pending the outcome of the investigation, deputies said.
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