COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 14-month-old girl was thrown from a speeding getaway car late Thursday night after the suspects were caught shoplifting at KMart, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
Just after 9:00 p.m. Thursday, deputies responded to the KMart at 7325 Two Notch Road for a shoplifting call. "We know that three people went into the KMart with a child in the vehicle. We know that as they arrived at the KMart that they were there to shoplift," said Captain Chris Cowan.
When deputies arrived, KMart security had 21-year-old Courtney NaShawn Palmer in custody.
Security officers told deputies that Palmer and another woman got into a scuffle with officers after being confronted and accused of stealing from the store.
Deputies say a third woman, 22-year-old Kimberly Moody, was parked in the lot waiting in the getaway car when she noticed what was going on in the store, according to the sheriff's department.
After seeing what was happening, Moody decided to leave the premises in a hurry, according to deputies. " She hit the accelerate," said Captain Cowan. "She accelerated to a high rate of speed, sending a 1-year-old out of the back of the vehicle into the parking lot, causing serious injury." The child was not restrained and the door was not secure, according to investigators.
"Once she realizes the child's been thrown out of the vehicle, she stops," said Captain Cowan. "She and the other individual come running out of the KMart, picked the child up, put the child in the car, and then take the child to the hospital."
Deputy Curtis Wilson says the child has broken ribs, a collapsed lung and multiple abrasions and is currently in ICU at the hospital.
Moody was charged Friday with unlawful conduct towards a child. Her bond hearing was held Friday night. Officers said she has since posted bail.
Palmer was arrested Thursday night and charged with shoplifting.
Palmer was arrested Thursday night and charged with shoplifting. Investigators say she tried to steal two bottles of body spray, a bottle of body wash, a stick of deodorant, a pair of earrings, and a pack of tissue totaling $29.61.
A judge granted Palmer a $2,130 personal recognizance bond Friday morning. She also posted bail.
A third arrest came Friday night, according to deputies. 20-year-old Courtney Nicole-Francetta Mace was charged with two counts of assault and battery as well as one count of unlawful conduct toward a child. Deputies said Mace is the mother of the child that was thrown from the vehicle Thursday.
The mother of the injured baby, according to the deputies, was involved in the scuffle with the security officer. "We'll continue to investigate," said Captain Cowan. "We need to process witness statements. We need to continue to interview people, process surveillance footage, and once we do that, then we'll make a determination whether somebody else will be charged and what those charges will be."
A spokesperson for KMart said the security officer involved in the scuffle with the two women worked for KMart and was not employed by an outside agency. Kimberly Freely said the company is cooperating with the investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the child," said Freely.
The child is listed in serious condition at Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital.