A New Port Richey woman was arrested Monday morning after the sport utility vehicle she was driving flipped, ejecting her 4-year-old boy, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Crystal Dawn Rusaw, 24, of 66 Atrio Terrace Road, was driving a Ford Explorer when it left the road, struck a tree and flipped at 6727 Congress St. shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, deputies said.
When authorities arrived, no one was in the SUV, prompting deputies to use a dog to search the area. The dog found nothing. An airbag in the vehicle had deployed and an open 40-ounce bottle of Corona beer was found in the Explorer, which had major front-end damage, according to the arrest report.
At 4:16 a.m. Monday, a call was placed for medical assistance at 5820 Rowan Road, about 2 miles from the crash scene.
Rusaw told deputies she was driving the SUV and talking on a cellphone, which caused her to crash. Rusaw also told deputies her 4-year-old boy was a passenger in the right rear seat, according to the arrest report.
She said once she got out of the Explorer, she found that her child had been ejected and landed on the ground. She then walked to her mother’s house on Rowan Road, despite hearing sirens approaching, deputies said.
The boy had cuts on his chin and was taken by helicopter to a hospital for treatment. There was no sign of a booster seat in the Explorer, deputies said.
A deputy said Rusaw exhibited several signs of impairment, including slurred speech and a dazed expression, and that she smelled of alcohol. Rusaw admitted to drinking the Corona at a friend’s house before the crash and that it was in a cup holder at the time of the wreck, deputies said.
Rusaw was arrested and charged with child neglect and leaving the scene of a crash with injuries. She was being held at Land O’ Lakes Jail. Bail was set at $10,000.
Rusaw made news in January 2009 when she gave birth to the first baby of the New Year in Pasco County at Community Hospital in New Port Richey. She gave birth to her son.