(WJBK) - The family of a mother arrested under suspicion of drunken driving in a crash that killed her 3-year-old son says she was dealing with depression.
Police say Charlessia Pelt was driving a caravan Thursday evening near 7 Mile and Hayes. The family says she had plans to drop her three children off at her sister's house before heading to an event.
That's when police say the mother ran through a red light caused an accident that ejected her 3-year-old son Michael Jones from the caravan onto the street. She crashed into a Lincoln traveling on Hayes. The people inside that car were not hurt.
"We know that you love your babies that you did not intend for this to happen," said Barbara Sledge.
Police rushed the toddler to a local hospital but he did not survive.
"Don't judge my sister, don't judge her," Sledge said.
The family says Michael's two sisters, 8-year-old Aaliyah and 2 and 1/2-month-old Mia will be OK. They say their mother Charlessia was dealing with a lot of emotional pain.
"She has been going through a lot. She searched for love and she suffered from depression and she's had a really, really, really tough time dealing with losing her parents," said her sister-in-law, Equilla Sledge.
It was that emotional pain that her family says led her to drink. After Thursday's tragic incident, police arrested the 27-year-old mother under suspicion of drunk driving.
"A lot of times people turn to drink to solve problems and that's what she did," said her brother Darius Sledge.
Family members say they are sharing their story in hopes that no one else will have to experience their pain.
"If you have a family member who is suffering going through depression don't look past it," said her niece, L'aja Sledge.
Police say the infant in that van was believed to be in a child's seat, but we don't know yet if the 3-year-old was restrained.