NEW PORT RICHEY — Police found the truck rolled over on Congress Avenue, its front end smashed after slamming into a palm tree. No one was inside.
It was after 1 a.m. Monday. Crystal Rusaw, 24, was making the mile-and-a-half trek down dark streets to her mother's house clutching her injured 4-year-old son, Antonio. Sirens echoed in the distance, a New Port Richey police report states, and she knew they were for her. She kept walking.
Rusaw and her son have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times once before, when Antonio was the first baby born in Pasco County in 2009. That morning, she held him in her arms and kissed him and told a reporter, "I want him to grow up to be a gentleman. I want him to be somebody."
Early Monday morning, someone called police and rescue workers to Rusaw's mother's house at 5820 Rowan Road. Antonio had cuts on his chin. Rusaw told police the boy was thrown out of the truck when it rolled, and he landed on the ground. Rusaw said she crashed because she was talking on her cell phone. She told police she couldn't remember if Antonio was wearing a seat belt, the report states. Authorities didn't find a booster seat in the car.
They did find an open bottle of Corona.
Antonio was flown to a hospital for treatment. Police did not release the extent of his injuries. Rusaw's family members did not respond to interview requests.
Rusaw, of 6600 Atrio Ter., was arrested at 4:38 a.m. Monday on charges of leaving the scene of a crash with injuries and child neglect.
She remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Wednesday in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.