Police: Driver facing charges after Columbus girl dies in wreck

Justin Ford
Justin Ford

Phenix City police are pursuing a manslaughter charge against a Columbus man who they said was under the influence of alcohol when he struck a woman and her 4-year-old daughter Aug. 28 on Collin Powell Parkway, killing the child.

The child, whose name officials declined to release, was pronounced dead at 2:24 p.m. Saturday at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The cause of death was pediatric traumatic brain injury stemming from the wreck, Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. said.

Justin Ford, the 30-year-old Columbus driver, was arrested the morning of the incident but has since been released on bonds totaling $50,000. He now faces two counts of first-degree assault, but authorities plan to have one of his charges upgraded to manslaughter.

Capt. George Staudinger with the Phenix City Police Department said officers were called to a wreck that occurred around 2:50 a.m. Aug. 28 on the Collin Powell Parkway near U.S. 280. A 25-year-old woman and her daughter were struck by a vehicle, leaving them both with head injuries.

They were transported to Midtown Medical Center in Columbus. The mother, who also sustained injuries to her arm, was treated for at least two days before being released.

The child was airlifted to the Atlanta hospital, where she died.

Staudinger said a field sobriety test indicates that the man was under the influence of alcohol at the time, but he declined to release the suspect’s blood alcohol content level.

Sarah Robinson: 706-571-8622, @sarahR_92