Alexandra Richardson was returning home when she attempted to drive over a bridge that was closed due to flooding

By Christine Pelisek
December 06, 2019 04:25 PM
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Alexandra Richardson
Credit: Hart County Jail

A 28-year-old Kentucky woman has been charged with murder after she drove into flood waters and her 20-month old son was swept away.

Alexandra Richardson was also charged with two felony counts of wanton endangerment and operating a vehicle under the influence in the death of her son.

“If you show wanton disregard of risk to other people it can lead to a murder charge,” Edmonson County Attorney Gregory Vincent tells PEOPLE. “It is heartbreaking. I am sure the mother is destroyed over this, but there are consequences for our actions.”

According to the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office, Richardson had gone to the local drug store around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and was returning home when she attempted to drive over a low water bridge that had been closed due to flooding.

“That road is well known in the community for flooding,” Sheriff Shane Doyle tells PEOPLE. “There are permanently mounted signs that are concreted into the ground on either side of the bridge. It says road may flood. And then when the road floods, the local county road department puts out these barrier signs that say ‘road closed.’ You cannot miss them. It is very apparent the road is closed. You aren’t supposed to go past the sign.”

Alexandra Richardson and son
Alexandra Richardson and son
| Credit: Facebook

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Doyle says despite the warning sign, Richardson drove with her two sons around the sign and entered into the water.

“She said she floored the gas pedal to get speed to go across the water, and said she got about a fourth of the way and the nose began to dip and water poured into her car,” he says.

Richardson and her two kids escaped the vehicle but her youngest child, aged 20 months, was swept from her hands by the current.

A neighbor heard Richardson yelling for help and called 911.

Richardson and her 7-year-old son were taken to a local hospital, suffering from hypothermia.

The younger child was found about an hour later by searchers.

“They found him floating face up in the water,” says Doyle.

The boy was airlifted to a hospital in Nashville where he died.

Doyle says a preliminary report suggests the boy died from asphyxiation due to near drowning.

Richardson tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, Doyle says.

Richardson is being held on a $50,000 cash bond in county jail.

She is set to be arraigned Tuesday. She has yet to enter a plea.