Woman drives into water with kids, 1 child dies

Woman drives into water with kids, 1 child dies
Lindsey Gundlach's car was recovered from the river. (Source: WOIO)
Lindsey Gundlach's car was recovered from the river. (Source: WOIO)

ERIE COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - A 32-year-old Huron woman has just been hit with more serious charges after a young passenger in her car died.

Lindsey M. Gundlach is charged with two counts of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, two counts of child endangering, involuntary manslaughter and aggravated vehicular homicide.

According to Erie County sheriff's deputies, two children, Autumn Collinsworth, 7, and Javin Jacues, 4, were riding with Gundlach when she drove into the Huron River around 11 p.m. Sunday. She was backing out of a driveway at 9706 Riverview Drive when the accident happened. Police say Gundlach did not stop when she reached the street and backed right into the water.

Investigators say Gundlach and the children's mother, Erika Kohler, had plans to go to another friend's house together with the kids. At the last minute, the children's mother decided to take her own car.

When Kohler saw the incident, she dove into the river. Autumn was freed from the vehicle and was taken to shore; Gundlach was also able to make it to shore. Javin was unable to be saved.

"Unfortunately, they were not able to rescue the 4-year-old boy, and within a few minutes, it sounds like the vehicle sank and became submerged in the river," said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth.

The Milan Township Fire Department received help from the Sandusky and Huron fire departments. Divers were eventually able to locate and remove Javin from the submerged vehicle. 

Javin was rushed to Fisher-Titus Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Sigsworth said Gundlach had a blood alcohol level one-and-a-half times the legal limit. He described what happened as a scene so devastating, even the most seasoned professionals were shaken.

"This is the stark reality of what potentially can happen when people choose to drink and drive," said Sigsworth.

Gundlach was arrested at the scene. She is being held in the Erie County Jail on a $750,000 bond.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau at 419-627-7553.

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