Local News

Pair charged in child's death

Posted September 9, 2009

— A mother and her boyfriend are charged in the death of the woman’s 4-year-old child and the serious injury of her 7-year-old child, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

Sarah Eddington, 26, and John Croom, 32, both of 174 Bienville Drive in Fayetteville, are charged with two counts each of felony child abuse inflecting serious injury.

The charges stem from a July 12 incident where the couple placed the two children in the back of a Suzuki Samurai on a makeshift bench without restraints.

They drove about two miles into a wooded area off of Slocomb Road. Police said they intended to four-wheel along an embankment when Croom lost control of the vehicle and it flipped backwards several times. All of the passengers were ejected.

The 4-year-old child suffered head injuries and died at the scene. Her 7-year-old sister suffered multiple injuries and was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment. She has since recovered and is being cared for by family members.

Eddington and Croom were each released for the Cumberland County Detention Center under $5,000 unsecured bond.

Their first court appearances are on Thursday.


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  • start417 Sep 10, 2009

    My husband and I are parents, and we along with our friends have Suzuki Samurai's that are street legal, but also used to go rockcrawling. We've all modified our Samurai's, so in this instance, this couple must have had a Samurai that was street legal and also for the trails. It's a great hobby, but not safe for the kids. The factory seat in these things are horrible, and so easy to come out. This was poor judgement on their part to take the kids,especially when there was no seat belts. I feel for the family and the couple, because they look like nice people. It's hard for a parent to loose a child.

  • jetstream Sep 10, 2009

    Oops my bad. SUV. This story seems really weird.

  • Mom2two Sep 9, 2009

    It's a shame you can't make people pass a common sense test before letting them make babies.

  • Adelinthe Sep 9, 2009

    jetstream -

    It wasn't an ATV; it was an SUV without the proper seats and seat belts installed for passenger safety.

    God bless.


  • simracer68 Sep 9, 2009

    jetstream: Decent arguments, I guess, about ATVs. However, you should actually read the article. The vehicle was a Susuki Samurai - a compact SUV, it was NOT an ATV ("four-wheeler").

    Since the Samurai model isn't that old, I will go out on a limb and guess that it was factory delivered with a proper rear seat and seatbelts. If not, then these adults should be in trouble for overloading their street-going vehicle. Yes, over-oading. That means more people on board than seats/seatbelts - a chargable offense...that I see everyday...2 adults and 5 kids in a Corolla? Sure, Toyota put 7 seatbelts in those, didn't they? lol

  • R_U_breakdance fighting Sep 9, 2009

    I feel so sorry for the family. I know this guy is hurting too. None of the bad choices were intentional.

  • Jeremiah_Del_Toro Sep 9, 2009

    Samaurai's are little top heavy boxes and known for their rollover problems.

    I wonder if they were drinking....the guy should be slammed hard for this one, but not the mother. The loss of her little boy alone is devastating. Tragic accident that could have been avoided.

    And yes it was NOT an ATV, small SUV truck. (although I will say ATV's a more dangerous than dirt bikes,...all riders should were all safety equip and never ride at night)

  • do what Sep 9, 2009

    This could have been almost any of us - I know that I am guilty of letting my kids ride in my 4x4 without seatbelts when we are driving on the beach on the Outer Banks. (back when you could drive on the beach)
    The mother will suffer the rest of her life over this horrible accident.

  • Squidbert Sep 9, 2009

    poindek3 beat me to the punch.

  • poindek3 Sep 9, 2009

    this was a stupid idea but for all of the atv bashers on here this was a suzuki samurai. this is a small SUV, not an atv. let's get the facts sraight before we open our mouths. instead of blaming atv's blame the parents. some of us are good parents that make our kids wear all the safety gear. prayers go out to the children in this situation.