Public Safety

Cedar Rapids woman charged with child endangerment after driving her children into icy waters

Two sons had minor injuries

Emergency personnel from Cedar Rapids and Johnson County Emergency Management dive team oversee the recovery of a vehicle from the Cedar River at the Mohawk boat ramp in Cedar Rapids on Monday, March 26, 2018. The car was submerged Sunday evening, March 11, and the occupants, a woman and two children, were receiving medical care according to information released by the city of Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Emergency personnel from Cedar Rapids and Johnson County Emergency Management dive team oversee the recovery of a vehicle from the Cedar River at the Mohawk boat ramp in Cedar Rapids on Monday, March 26, 2018. The car was submerged Sunday evening, March 11, and the occupants, a woman and two children, were receiving medical care according to information released by the city of Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids woman drove her car into the Cedar River in March has now been charged with two counts of child endangerment.

Alicia Christa Cole, 35, was charged Thursday in Linn County District Court with two felony counts of child endangerment causing bodily injury, according to criminal complaint. She was arrested by police on a warrant Wednesday.

Cole is accused of creating a “substantial risk” to her two sons’ “physical, mental or emotional health” by causing bodily injury to the children - “G.T.” and “M.D,” - when she drove her vehicle into “freezing waters” of the Cedar River at Mohawk Park March 11, according to the complaint.

Police said after the crash that her sons are ages 1 and 12.

Police said Cole’s 2006 Buick Lucerne went into the river near the Mohawk boat ramp, 101 J Ave. NE, at around 4:40 p.m. that day. The vehicle was removed March 26 by the Cedar Rapids police and fire departments, along with the Johnson County Dive Team.

The complaint shows Cole and her sons were “exposed to potential hypothermia and drowning and had to be rescued by boaters that were on the river at the time.” M.D. had a injury to his head and the other boy had abdominal pain after the crash.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte said the vehicle was submerged with the children inside, but they managed to get out of the car with help from boaters who were in the area when the Buick went into the water.

“Several citizens helped or called the police when this happened,” Schulte said.

Schulte said the delay in charges being filed was due to police conducting further investigation. When asked why Cold didn’t face harsher charges, such as attempted murder, Schulte would only say the charges are based on the evidence.

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6th Judicial Associate District Judge Casey Jones ordered a $20,000 bail Wednesday and Cole was bailed out later that day, according to jail records.

If convicted, Cole faces five years in prison for each charge.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; matthew.patane@thegazette.com

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