Three young boys were trapped inside a submerged car after their mother is accused of leaving them behind, police in Virginia say.
Now the 27-year-old faces multiple charges in connection with the Aug. 21 incident.
Bystanders sprang into action to rescue the kids, all younger than 10, when their mom drove into a retention pond and walked away with them still inside, Newport News police said in a news release. Officers were called at about 9:30 p.m.
Witnesses cut the children from their seat belts and pulled them to safety as the car continued to sink, the release said. All three escaped without injuries.
“They reacted quickly from what I hear, so that’s a blessing,” Ryen Collier, who lives in the area, told WAVY.
Meanwhile, officers went looking for their mom and found her at an apartment complex nearby, according to WTKR. The woman reportedly attacked and spat at officers when they tried to arrest her, the station reported, citing court documents.
She was taken to a hospital where she attacked another officer “multiple times,” police said.
The woman was arrested on several charges including public intoxication and reckless driving, according to the release. She also faces three counts of child endangerment.
Her kids were evaluated at a local hospital and are expected to be OK, police said. They are now in the care of Child Protective Services.
Police Chief Steve Drew praised the bystanders for their quick action.
“Because of your efforts, these three children escaped this incident, unharmed,” Drew said in a statement. “I am so grateful for your quick thinking and bravery.”
Authorities said the investigation is ongoing.
Newport News is about 70 miles southeast of Richmond.