Mother of woman who ran car into building with child in lap: ‘She was hysterical’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Alarming video captured the moments a mother slammed into a building with her 3-year-old son sitting on her lap. Now, the child's grandmother is speaking out.

Elizabeth Runnells

The child in the video is OK and uninjured, but the video is still difficult to watch. The mother of the woman in the video said she wants her daughter to get some help.

A gaping hole was left in the side of the New Horizon building after people on the video can be heard saying this was the second time the woman behind the wheel smashed into the side of the building.

Police said the woman's 3-year-old child was sitting on her lap. Onlookers ran to try and help, saying the driver initially tried fighting them off as she walked away carrying a child.

Police showed up and arrested 32-year-old Elizabeth Runnells for driving under the influence and child endangerment.

"To be honest with you, I was emotionally distraught, and I actually vomited," Robin Henry, Runnells' mother, said about seeing the video.

Henry is now taking care of 3-year-old Jayce, Runnells' autistic son who was in the video.

Henry wanted to speak with us to let people know Jayce is OK. She's talked to her daughter but said their family is still trying to figure out what went wrong.

"She was hysterical as far as emotions went, so I just let her know that her son was OK," Henry said.

"I did ask her why, what happened, and she did not answer me," Henry said.

Back at the complex, the side of the building Runnells is accused of slamming into appears to be a spot for expecting mothers to seek advice. It's now boarded up and surrounded by red tape.

While Henry knows the video is hard to watch, she's asking people on social media to not post cruel comments as they work to figure out the full story. Ultimately, she's wanting her daughter to get help.

"My main goal here is to let people know here that there are people who have mental issues that it's a cry for help; whatever happened I'm not real clear on," Henry said. "Anyone that actually did this, whether they be under the influence or mentally distraught, it tells me there's a problem."

Three-year-old Jayce will be staying with his grandmother indefinitely.

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