One Sunday evening shortly after Christmas 2019, Amy Ard received an email. “Wondering what resources are available to a young woman that’s pregnant (did not know until after her arrest),” it said. The message continued: This woman had no money, wasn’t in contact with her family, and was still in jail awaiting her hearing. Could Ard help?
The woman in question was 27-year-old Aubrey Newsome. She had been driving drunk after her restaurant shift in Augusta when she hit an oncoming car, then fled the scene. The accident resulted in the death of Charnia Eccleston, an 11-year-old girl riding inside the other vehicle. Newsome, who had several prior arrests involving drugs and alcohol, was charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. She was detained at Augusta’s Webster Detention Center and, because of the seriousness of her charges, wasn’t offered bond. A few weeks after her arrest, Newsome tested positive on a pregnancy test provided by the jail. She estimates she was only a few weeks pregnant when she was arrested.