POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A 32-year-old Florida mother is behind bars after her two young children were ejected during a high-speed crash on Hwy 27 in Polk County Friday.
Authorities say 32-year-old Ashauntie Cox, of Orlando, was behind the wheel of a blue Kia when she collided with a Chevy Silverado pickup truck at the intersection of US Hwy 27 and US Hwy 98 near Frostproof.
Instead of pulling over, deputies say Cox took off down Hwy 27 “recklessly” weaving in and out of slower-moving traffic. That’s when she rear-ended a 2016 Honda CRV.
The collision caused Cox’s vehicle to flip several times, ejecting her two children, ages 5 and 8 years old. Deputies said both children were rushed to Tampa General Hospital with “significant injuries.”
A 27-year-old passenger also injured her spinal cord, hip, and back. She was rushed to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where she is currently in stable condition. The victim driving the CRV was taken to Sebring Hospital, where he was treated and released with minor injuries.
When deputies arrived, they detected the odor of marijuana and found a bottle of tequila in Cox’s vehicle.
At the hospital, Cox told deputies she was driving from Orlando to Avon Park to celebrate her 5-year-old’s kindergarten graduation. Cox admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the day, and to drinking four shots of tequila.
“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,” 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.”
Cox was booked into the Polk County Jail 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.
Further charges are pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.