A 4-year-old girl remained in critical condition Wednesday at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston after choking on food while left at home unsupervised a day earlier, DeKalb County police said.
The girl’s mother, Vivian Cartia White, was arrested and charged with second-degree cruelty to children when she returned home Tuesday, police said. White, 35, was booked into the DeKalb County Jail.
Emergency crews responded around 3 p.m. Tuesday to the 2100 block of Sara Ashley Way in Lithonia, where the girl and her four siblings — the oldest of whom is 10 — were home alone, DeKalb police Lt. Jerry Lewis said.
“Their mom left to run a quick errand,” he said.
Neighbor Christopher Fortune said he had just pulled into his driveway when he saw a boy running across the street saying, “My sister is choking on a hot dog and about to die.”
Fortune said he ran over to the home to help and saw the child at the bottom of the steps, foaming at the mouth.
“I gotta help her. That’s the only thing that came through my mind,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He said he performed the Heimlich maneuver, but the girl’s body went limp before emergency crews arrived to take over.
Staff writer Michelle E. Shaw contributed to this article.