Death of Augusta toddler being investigated

Girl found dead after wreck in Appling

JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Columbia County sheriff's officers investigate a wreck in Appling on Thursday.
Friday, May 3, 2013 9:44 AM
Last updated Saturday, May 4, 2013 12:39 AM
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An Augusta toddler was found dead Thursday after a Columbia County wreck that hospitalized her mother, but police refused to say Friday whether the child died as a result of the crash.

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Marina Middlebrooks fed ducks with her daughter, Sky Allen, at Lake Olmstead in January 2012.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Marina Middlebrooks fed ducks with her daughter, Sky Allen, at Lake Olmstead in January 2012.

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“It’s a pending investigation,” said Columbia County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris, who acknowledged that investigators have received preliminary autopsy reports on 2-year-old Sky Allen. “No more details will be released at this time, because this is a pending death investigation.”

Sky was pronounced dead at the scene on Ray Owens Road in Appling on Thursday afternoon. Her mother, Marina Middlebrooks, 27, of Norton Boulevard, was airlifted to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where Morris said her condition was stable.

On Thursday evening, several police cars, a crime scene truck and an ambu­lance were at the Augusta home where Mid­dlebrooks lived with her daughter, said neighbor Monte Fuller.

At one point, police searched a man and a boy who was about 5 years old, Fuller said.

Tim Allen, who identified himself as the brother of Mid­dlebrooks’ fiance, said she lived in her fiance’s house with their two children, Sky and a boy 4 or 5 years old.

About 4:20 p.m. Thursday, the Honda CRV that Middlebrooks was driving north on Ray Owens Road drifted across oncoming traffic and ran off the road, Morris said.

The sport utility vehicle hit a tree, Morris said. No other vehicles were involved.

The toddler was not restrained in the front seat at the time of the wreck, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said.

Comments (45) Add comment
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CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 05/03/13 - 10:01 am
18
3
Please tell me...

Please tell me this so-called mother is going to be charged with reckless manslaughter. Any idiot knows that a child needs to be strapped in a safety seat in the BACK seat. And what was she doing that had her eyes off the road long enough to 'drift' into on-coming traffic? If I were investigating this the first thing I would do is check her phone to see if she was texting. But then again, she may have been distracted by the two year old in the FRONT seat!

faithson
4784
Points
faithson 05/03/13 - 10:18 am
13
1
front seat....

momma's not gettin' out of this one. prayers for the family.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 05/03/13 - 10:24 am
1
0
What a sad and senseless
Unpublished

What a sad and senseless tragedy !! There better NOT have been any texting involved !! However, if Sky had been properly buckled in, we probably would not be having these reactions. Prayers to the family.

hootshoney
28
Points
hootshoney 05/03/13 - 11:29 am
12
9
Please refrain from

Please refrain from commenting on the mother's fitness until all the facts are in. There is a great deal more to this story than has been reported. Prayers for both of them.

onethickdiva
1558
Points
onethickdiva 05/03/13 - 11:35 am
10
3
Prayers for the family

I can only imagine the pain the family feels knowing this could have been prevented. I am very glad that the mother is in stable condition so that she can be racked with grief knowing she killed her child. The childs seat is on the ground so there was one in the car so this is plain neglect and we should nail her hindparts to the wall for that and manslaughter.

onethickdiva
1558
Points
onethickdiva 05/03/13 - 12:13 pm
14
2
Sorry Hoots

The child was not strapped in and in the front seat, end of story.

rocketserve
280
Points
rocketserve 05/03/13 - 11:39 am
12
1
OK...
Unpublished

What more to this story could there be that would exonerate this woman for A) having a two year old in the front seat and B) not even restrained? I feel sad for the family, but to say there could be "a great deal more to this story" that would make it excusable, is curious at best.

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 05/03/13 - 11:59 am
5
1
Nevermind. It is a no-win.

Nevermind. It is a no-win.

Dixieman
12900
Points
Dixieman 05/03/13 - 04:52 pm
4
4
Two years old...

...in front seat, not restrained in any way? Oh my God. There is nothing to say beyond this. If the mother lives, she will be in hell for the rest of her days here on Earth with the memory of what she did even before she spends eternity there....

Cynical old woman
1090
Points
Cynical old woman 05/03/13 - 12:09 pm
9
2
Unnecessary Heartbreak

IF ONLY she had followed the law and protected her child. Sad on all accounts! The mom needs to be ever so grateful that she's not the mother of one of my grandchildren. I would NOT have much sympathy for her...then again I have a low tolerance for ignorance especially when it comes to taking care of a child!

MercadiesMX1983
13
Points
MercadiesMX1983 05/03/13 - 12:24 pm
9
5
Whose to say the child WAS

Whose to say the child WAS buckled in & undid her straps causing the mother to take her eyes off the road for a split second which caused the wreck? Stop judging the mother. How horrible it is that she wakes up in the hospital to her baby girl being dead!!! I hope those criticizing has a lil more trouble sleeping tonight.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 05/03/13 - 12:33 pm
8
6
This is horrible. That said,

This is horrible. That said, there are some stories where comments need not be left; this is one of those stories.

GiantsAllDay
9063
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/03/13 - 01:41 pm
6
4
A mother is suffering right

A mother is suffering right now. I've never been a mother nor will I ever be one. I think all of us should withhold further comments.

CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 05/03/13 - 01:47 pm
7
3
Sorry Mercadies

She had no business with the child in the front seat. If the child did undo the straps, then she should have pulled over. We may not know the 'whole story' but regardless of what we don't know, there is no excuse that would make a difference. The mother screwed up and the baby is dead. There is nothing that can be said, no excuse given to make this okay.

Little Lamb
43827
Points
Little Lamb 05/03/13 - 01:52 pm
2
0
Ray Owens Road

Here is another story about a terrible one-car crash on Ray Owens:

Teeters

augusta citizen
8638
Points
augusta citizen 05/03/13 - 02:20 pm
8
0
Don't know

I feel the same way as most posters if the child was never secured in the first place. However, when my daughter was a toddler, there were 2 times that she managed to get out of her carseat. It was a top of the line carseat and everything was in working order, but she was always a determined one. Once I was driving down the interstate returning from visiting family and suddenly her head popped up in my rearview mirror. We were several hours into the trip and she had been secured the whole time. We were in heavy traffic and I decided it was safer to make it the 2 miles to the next exit than to try and pull off onto the shoulder, which was pretty narrow. I remember feeling frantic, re-checking that the doors were locked and trying to slow down to exit, praying the entire time it took me to stop and resecure her. Was I distracted?, absolutely, so I will with-hold judgement.

LillyfromtheMills
12579
Points
LillyfromtheMills 05/03/13 - 03:19 pm
5
4
History

My children and I played at the lake many days and many miles away from home - seat belts were not required back then. I never ran into a tree - something was wrong with the mom (driver)

kmb413
533
Points
kmb413 05/03/13 - 03:53 pm
12
0
update story?

I heard Austin Rhodes talking about this a few minutes ago on his show. If what he says is true, verified fact, this story needs to be updated. It would also prove that people should not jump to conclusions and wait until all information is provided. The story above does paint a horrible picture for the mother.

Darby
23589
Points
Darby 05/03/13 - 03:54 pm
6
2
I have a neighbor who is an elementary

school teacher. Last month I looked up from my lawn mowing to see her drive up the street and into her driveway.

Her four year old son was standing behind the wheel, "steering" the car.

I should have intervened but I didn't. I'm hoping it was a one time event.

I know people did things like that when I was a kid, but didn't think anyone would still be that stupid. Not today. Not with all we know now.

dichotomy
30511
Points
dichotomy 05/03/13 - 05:15 pm
5
4
Well, we won't know until

Well, we won't know until after the investigation, and no matter what the findings are this is a terrible thing to happen. She drifted into another lane of traffic and then went off the road. Maybe she was distracted by the child. But, if this ends up like hundreds of drivers I see every week, my guess is that a cell phone/text is involved. As to why the child wasn't secured in the rear in a safety seat, only the mom can answer that question.

LillyfromtheMills
12579
Points
LillyfromtheMills 05/03/13 - 04:02 pm
6
0
AR

Is reporting on his FB that the child was already deceased before the wreck - now that would make me run into a tree if I was trying to take care of my child!

Riverman1
79292
Points
Riverman1 05/03/13 - 04:10 pm
9
1
I stayed away from this story

I stayed away from this story because I wanted to first see how things played out. BUT, AR read the remarks of the commenters over the air, noting law enforcement believes the child was dead before the wreck. I find jumping the gun on this one wrong, either way, including AR assuming law enforcement is right. We don't know if the commenters are right or wrong or if Austin is right. Best for all to wait.

Sean Moores
832
Points
Sean Moores 05/03/13 - 04:35 pm
14
0
We will have an update

But we have to verify the information before we can post it.

rmwhitley
5526
Points
rmwhitley 05/03/13 - 06:16 pm
0
0
God bless
Unpublished

that beautiful child's soul.

itsanotherday1
40159
Points
itsanotherday1 05/03/13 - 09:42 pm
0
5
Ruh Ro

I just read the update..... This one will get interesting.

whyme
1411
Points
whyme 05/03/13 - 10:31 pm
7
4
what the...?

I really with the AC would step up and either close these forums down or block all the negatively speculative comments. First, people seem to infer all sorts of things from the article posted as if they are speaking the truth. Second, to post any comment with the tone that is often used-snide, sarcastic, condescending, whatever-shows a lack of class. Third, why would there be a photo of this woman and her child posted in happier times? Not cool, Chronicle. Finally, I wish that the articles were written in such a way to minimize the amount of speculation, such as the phrase about the child not being buckled in the front seat (maybe because she wasn't in the front seat to begin with, for example), but it's been brought to my attention that that is exactly why these articles are written in this way. Gets folks on the site, brings in more spectators to the articles, stirs up controversy, and ultimately a win for the Chronicle...but a big loss for the people involved and for the public as well.

KSL
121428
Points
KSL 05/03/13 - 11:33 pm
3
1
whyme

Someone must have provided the AC with the picture.

KSL
121428
Points
KSL 05/03/13 - 11:37 pm
4
1
From the article

On Thursday evening, several police cars, a crime scene truck and an ambu­lance were at the Augusta home where Mid­dlebrooks lived with her daughter, said neighbor Monte Fuller.

AutumnLeaves
5991
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/03/13 - 11:38 pm
1
0
Is the house Norton Boulevard

Is the house Norton Boulevard or Norton Road? If it is near Lumpkin Road, Ruby Drive (which changes into Wheeless Road across Deans Bridge) and Richmond Hill Road, then the signs say Norton Road. Is there a different road somewhere else called Norton Boulevard?

AutumnLeaves
5991
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/03/13 - 11:41 pm
4
1
This is thoroughly confusing.

This is thoroughly confusing. Everybody needs to just wait. And pray for families.

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