2 kids ejected and critically injured; mother arrested on DUI charge after causing two crashes

A 32-year-old Orlando mother is accused of driving under the influence, fleeing the scene of one accident, and causing another accident that flipped her vehicle and ejected her two children, leaving them critically injured.

On Friday, May 19, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Ashauntie Cox of Orlando on multiple felony counts, including driving under the influence and child abuse with great bodily harm.

According to an arrest affidavit filed in Polk County, Cox was involved in a traffic accident that occurred at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 27 and U.S. Hwy 98 in Polk County at around 8 p.m. on May 19.

Cox was driving a blue Kia southbound on U.S. Hwy 27 when witnesses say she struck a Chevy Silverado pickup truck and fled the scene.

Cox allegedly continued south down U.S. Hwy 27 at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of slower moving traffic. As she attempted to pass between a 2016 Honda CRV and the vehicle traveling next to it, her vehicle rear-ended the CRV.

The collision caused Cox’s vehicle to flip several times, ejecting two children ages 5 and 8 years old. Both the children were taken to Tampa General Hospital, where they were treated for significant injuries. As of this weekend, both children were in critical condition.

A 27-year-old female passenger in the vehicle was also seriously injured along her spinal cord, hip, and back, according to police. That passenger was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital Medical Center and was last reported to be in stable condition.

When deputies arrived at the scene of the second crash, they located a bottle of tequila in Cox’s vehicle and detected the odor of marijuana.

During an interview at the hospital, Cox told deputies that she had been driving the group from Orlando to Avon Park to celebrate the kindergarten graduation of the 5-year-old passenger. Cox admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day and to having approximately four shots of tequila.

According to police, Cox displayed several signs of impairment. She consented to having her blood drawn for analysis around seven hours after the accident, and the results still showed signs of alcohol in her system.

Cox was booked into the Polk County Jail and was charged with three counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, two counts of negligent child abuse with great bodily harm, reckless driving, and one count each of DUI and DUI with property damage.

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