A woman faces a slew of charges after police say she lost control of her vehicle and struck four people, including two children, while under the influence.
Police say Erika Williams, 28, was driving a blue Oldsmobile at a high rate of speed shortly before 11 p.m. on the 900 block of Anchor Street Saturday night when a ball came into the roadway. Investigators say the woman tried to swerve but ended up striking 5-year-old Anya Mwagala. She then jumped a curb and struck Anya's 2-year-old brother Lamar, their 36-year-old mother Dwania Dreuitt and their 31-year-old Aunt Asheena Sutton. Witnesses say the family was attending a birthday party on the street at the time of the crash.
"The car had to be literally lifted off my daughter and my two grand babies," said Anya and Lamar's grandmother Janice Jones. "At the time we didn't know that my granddaughter was under the car also. We didn't know that until we lifted the car up."
Nicole Giles, a neighbor of the victims, described Anya's condition immediately after the crash.
“She was just bleeding,” said Giles while on the verge of tears. “She wasn’t moving. It just hurts my heart because I have a child her age.”
Witnesses also say several people sprang into action during the accident, pulling the car off of the victims before emergency crews arrived.
"It was natural instinct," said Nature Williams. "The first thing that came to my mind when they said the baby was under the car was to pull the car."
Witnesses say a neighbor as well as a DJ from the party performed CPR on the children before medics arrived.
Anya and Lamar were both taken to St. Christopher's Hospital. Anya, who is also autistic, suffered a severe injury to her right leg which had to be amputated below the knee. She is currently in a medically-induced coma and remains in critical condition. Lamar suffered a dislocated pelvis but is currently in good condition.
Dreuitt was taken to Temple Hospital and treated for leg and head pain as well as a laceration on her hand. She was later released and is now staying at St. Christopher's to be with her children. Sutton underwent surgery Monday afternoon at Thomas Jefferson Hospital but was not seriously injured.
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Witnesses say Erika Williams, who is from the 5500 block of Hill Creek Circle, got out of the car and apologized to Dreuitt after the accident. She then walked across the street and sat down until police arrived, according to neighbors. Neighbors previously told NBC10 that Williams pulled a knife on some of the Good Samaritans who were trying to help the children. Police have not yet confirmed this however.
Williams was taken into custody after the accident and charged Sunday with multiple counts of driving under the influence, aggravated assault while driving under the influence, criminal mischief, simple assault and other related offenses.
She remained behind bars Monday on $40,000 bail.