HomeNewsCrime & CourtsGrovetown mother of dog attack victim defends herself after DUI arrest

Grovetown mother of dog attack victim defends herself after DUI arrest



The mother of the 11-year-old boy attacked by pit bulls on Jan. 6 is defending herself after her arrest this week for two DUI-related wrecks in Augusta.

Ericka Gilstrap is accused of hitting three vehicles while driving under the influence and then leaving the scene. Full details on the arrest are in this week’s print edition of The Jail Report, which spells out a history of arrests for child cruelty and shoplifting. (Story continues below.)

Gilstrap says she has had trouble sleeping and took Ambien prescribed from her doctor while staying with a friend in Augusta. Her mother is taking care of Justin and her other children.

She said she doesn’t remember the wrecks on Tuesday morning, just that she ended up in jail.

“I will no longer take Ambien – period!” she said Friday. “I didn’t know it was going to make me do that. … I am very sorry for it, but I don’t remember it.”

Gilstrap is very concerned that the community could think she bailed herself out with some of the quarter-million dollars she raised from her son’s brutal dog attack. That is not true, she said. Her friend spent about $500 to bail her out, she said.

“I never used GoFundMe money,” Gilstrap said.

The Grovetown mother of four said she is using most of the donated money to buy a $200,000 house that will include a separate room and handicapped-accessible bathroom for her injured son, Justin.

“After what he has been through, he deserves his own room,” she said. “Before, he was sharing his room.”

She said it took $8,800 to tear down the existing house while the land cost $17,000 and plumbing fixes will require $7,000. It will give her family a fresh start.

Some of the money was also set aside for Justin’s ear-reconstruction surgery, she said.

“Nothing has been blown on anything stupid,” Gilstrap said.

Tuesday’s charges included DUI, open container, suspended tag and two counts each of leaving the scene of an accident and following too closely. She spent several hours in the Charles B. Webster Detention Center before bonding out.

Gilstrap accuses the arresting officer of taking a dry liquor bottle from the ditch near her car and claiming it was an open container in her car. Either way, Gilstrap said she will fight the charges and make it right with the owners of the three vehicles involved in the hit & runs.

“The last thing I remember is going to jail,” she said. “But I certainly couldn’t hit a car and not stop.”

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    • Well, that does happen. If the cop actually saw her throw a bottle out of her car, they are diligent in finding things like that. He may have seen it or it may not have happened. Cops will do anything and everything to screw people over.

    • A breath or blood alcohol test would settle the argument. Ambien is a plausible explanation for bad driving though. It’s wildly overprescribed and I don’t thin doctors adequately explain the potential problems from taking it regularly.

  1. I thought the money would be used toward Justin’s medical bills which I heard (and imagine) would be substantial. A 200K house is nice and all but upkeep of the house is not free. Was that a wise move?

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