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New Port Richey Woman Charged with Child Neglect After Crash

Crystal Dawn Rusaw of New Port Richey was arrested and charged earlier this week with child neglect and leaving the scene of a crash with injuries. According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Rusaw was driving a Ford Explorer when it left the road, struck a tree and flipped at 6727 Congress St. shortly before 2 a.m. Monday.

When deputies arrived at the scene, there was no one in the SUV. They then used a dog to search the area, coming up empty. They allegedly observed that the airbag had deployed and that there was an open 40-ounce bottle of Corona beer in the vehicle.

Over two hours later and two miles from the crash scene, a call seeking medical assistance was made.

Rusaw told deputies she was driving the SUV and talking on a cellphone, which caused her to crash. Rusaw also told deputies her 4-year-old boy was a passenger in the right rear seat.

She said her son was ejected and had landed on the ground. Despite hearing sirens, Rusaw said she walked to her mother's house two miles away. The boy had cuts on his chin and was taken by helicopter to a hospital for treatment. According to the report, there was no sign of a booster seat in the Explorer.

A deputy noted Rusaw exhibited several signs of impairment, including slurred speech and a dazed expression, and that she smelled of alcohol. Rusaw admitted to drinking the Corona at a friend's house before the crash.

Rusaw was arrested and charged with child neglect and leaving the scene of a crash with injuries. It seems probably that authorities are also considering a driving under the influence charge. If Rusaw provided a blood sample for analysis, it may take several weeks before the laboratory can test and report on the blood alcohol content of Rusaw's sample. If the sample exceeds the presumptive limit (0.08%) for a DUI charge, she will likely face an additional charge.

Rusaw made local news in January 2009 when she gave birth to the first baby of the New Year in Pasco County. This is presumably the little boy involved in the crash.

More recently, just last August, Rusaw was arrested for child neglect after leaving her three young children at home alone while she went to a neighbor's house for a sexual encounter. The kids, ranging from 4 years to 10 months, were discovered trying to cross a nearby highway after escaping from the house.

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