Cari Cullum Columbus Mississippi elementary teacher and mom of three charged w/ attempted murder after driving SUV into lake with 2 year old daughter inside.
An elementary school teacher and mother of three in Mississippi has been charged with attempted murder after she intentionally drove her SUV into a lake with her 2-year-old daughter inside, authorities said.
Cari Campbell Cullum, 34, was booked Monday after police in Columbus said she backed her SUV off a boat ramp at the Columbus Lock and Dam in the early morning hours of Sept. 21, circa 3.15 a.m the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reported.
‘This is a tragic case and we believe this was not an accident,’ Police Chief Fred Shelton said in a news release. ‘Our investigation continues into the incident. Her children are in the care of another person at this time.’
Cullum and her child survived after a friend who the mother had called early that morning breaking a window to free her and her 2 year old daughter, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
Cullum, her daughter and the man who saved them from the partially submerged SUV were not hurt, cops said.
Told Police Chief Shelton via WTVA-TV, ‘The man that put his own life at risk to save these two people is a hero. We would never tell anyone to take such actions, but he did what he had to do. I am convinced the outcome would have been much worse without his life-saving work.’
Cullum’s daughter is now in the custody of her biological father in Monroe County, the Daily Journal reported.
#BREAKING A former Hamilton Elementary School teacher is charged with attempted murder after allegedly driving her vehicle and her child into Columbus Lake. 34 year old Cari Cullum made her initial court appearance today. Judge set her bond at $400,000. @WCBINEWS pic.twitter.com/vHoPiz4zzy
— Quentin Smith WCBI (@Q_Smith_) October 1, 2019
Prior incidents of child endangerment:
Cullum identifies herself on her Facebook page as a second-grade teacher at Hamilton Elementary School. District officials declined to discuss her employment status, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
‘This is something that we’re working through now as a district,’ Monroe County School District Superintendent Brian Jernigan told the newspaper.
The divorced mom previously earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the Mississippi University for Women, according to her Facebook profile.
A judge set Cullum’s bond at $400,000 during her initial court appearance Monday and ordered her to stay away from her children, the Commercial Dispatch reported. She was not listed as in custody at the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center as of Wednesday, jail records show.
Of note, heavy reported Cullum facing additional charges of child endangerment for a separate incident which occurred in August of 2019. The mother of three was also arrested on August 11, 2019, on suspicion of driving under the influence. Cullum was at the time charged with DUI and child endangerment, as a result of her two year old and eleven year old being in the vehicle.
It remained unclear when Cullum became estranged from her former husband.