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Family steps in to care for child after young mom killed while sitting on porch

A young mother sitting on her front porch was killed after a car jumped the curb and hit her apartment Monday night, police said.

Elizabeth Shingles, 18, was rushed from the Sands Apartments to The Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead after midnight.

“It just all happened so fast,” said Elizabeth’s mother, Mabel Shingles, who was inside the apartment watching wrestling. “There were no screams.”

Leo Marvin Matthews IV, who turns 32 years old today, was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and other counts.

On Tuesday morning, while workers boarded up the damaged building, Shingles’ family battled disbelief. Her 2-year-old daughter, Alexis, was playing outside. Her aunt, Temaco Shingles, leaned against a wall, shaking her head.

“It is just terrible,” she said.

Elizabeth Shingles had dropped out of Jordan High when she got pregnant and was working toward a GED at Tillinghurst Adult Education Center, with her eye on Columbus Tech and a career in the medical field.

“She wanted a better life, a good life for Alexis,” her mother said. “That baby was everything to her.”

Her sister, Melinda Shingles, 26, works at Church’s Chicken and has four children of her own.

“That baby will be taken care of if I have to get a second job,” she said.

‘We didn’t think she would die’

Around 11:20 p.m., Elizabeth Shingles was sitting with a friend on the front porch of the apartment at 1213 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Matthews was driving west in a 1995 Ford Super Wagon, according to reports.

As he approached the intersection of King Boulevard and Shepherd Drive, he locked his brakes to avoid a vehicle turning onto Shepherd.

His car stopped, and he attempted to back up, according to reports, so he could turn into the drive of the Sands Apartments, where he also lived.

But his car jumped the curb, went through some bushes and hit Elizabeth Shingles, police said.

Reports state that the Ford kept moving forward after colliding with Shingles, dragging her until it struck the wall of the apartment. Matthews then fled the scene, police said.

“Elizabeth was lying on the ground in a lot of pain,” her sister said. “We knew she might have some broken bones but we didn’t think she would die.”

Matthews was booked into the Muscogee County Jail at 5:07 a.m. Tuesday, jail officials said. In addition to first-degree vehicular homicide, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident, Matthews was charged with reckless driving, duty upon striking a fixed object, duty to report an accident involving a death or injury or property damage, driving with a suspended or revoked license and no proof of insurance.

He has a Columbus Recorder’s Court hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

“If you can’t be safe sitting on your front porch, where can you be safe?” Shingles’ mother said.

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