Drivers on U.S. Route 19 in Florida on Sunday called police to report a jaw-dropping scene.
A mother was trying to push her 10-year-old daughter into the highway just before 2 p.m. on March 11, near Otter Creek, southwest of Gainesville, Fla. Witnesses told 911 dispatchers they saw the woman push the girl into oncoming traffic several times, according to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office.
The situation got even more bizarre when deputies got to the scene and spoke to the mother, 47-year-old Cherissa Latryce Drew, who spun “a very strange story,” according to the sheriff’s office.
First, Drew told authorities that her husband had kicked her out of the car following an argument. Then she said her husband had taken her and the 10-year-old daughter from their Orlando home, had instructed her to leave behind all her electronics and had threatened to kill Drew and run off with the child. Drew also said the husband had killed Drew’s mother before they left Orlando, according to the sheriff’s office.
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As deputies spoke to Drew, she also started to strip off her clothing and tried to get passing drivers to stop for her, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities tried to keep the situation under control, but suddenly Drew “appeared to faint then began complaining of chest pains,” the sheriff’s office said.
Paramedics arrived and began treating Drew inside an ambulance. But it didn’t take long for Drew to create more trouble, deputies said: Soon she was suffocating her child in the ambulance, forcing paramedics to call for deputies to help. Deputies found Drew “clutching the flailing child, holding her tightly around the neck and against her chest,” the sheriff’s office said. The girl’s face had been covered with a shirt.
After deputies wrestled Drew off the child, they arrested her and took her to the Levy County Detention Facility. She’s been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, attempted murder, child abuse, neglect of a child, indecent exposure in public and resisting arrest, according to jail records.
Drew’s bond has been set at $386,000.
Deputies said they have been unable to locate the woman’s husband, whom she had accused of threatening to kill her. But the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was able to find Drew’s mother (whom Drew said her husband had killed) safe at the mother’s home in Orlando, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office said.