A three year–old girl critically injured Sunday night in a four–wheel driving accident was apparently not wearing a seatbelt and the Colorado State Patrol says alcohol may have been involved. A spokesman for the state patrol says the child was admitted to Saint Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction in critical condition with a skull fracture.
The girl was ejected through the sunroof of the car. The incident happened on B.L.M. land in a popular four–wheeling area north of Interstate 70 near the end of 29 Road. The state patrol now says the accident happened when the Toyota Land Cruiser the child was riding in tried to climb a steep dirt hill. The driver failed to make it to the top, and the vehicle rolled backwards down the hill.
The Colorado State Patrol has identified the five adults who were in the vehicle with the little girl at the time of the crash, but they are not releasing the child's name, and therefore because of privacy laws. The hospital will not release her condition. Apparently the girl's mother Gabreal Lawrence, 27 of Grand Junction, was driving the Land Cruiser.
Investigators for the state patrol say lawrence lost control, then the vehicle rotated sideways, and fell into a ravine. It caused the passenger side to crash into an embankment. The three year–old was reportedly seated on the lap of the front seat passenger identified by the state patrol as 27-year–old Patrick Roenicke of Grand Junction.
The state patrol confirms the girl was ejected from the vehicle through the sunroof. She and her mother were taken to Saint Mary's Hospital via helicopter. Gabreal Lawrence was listed in fair condition at Saint Mary's Monday with neck, shoulder, and chest injuries. Her daughter's condition was critical last night.
While the desert north of Grand Junction does offer some challenging terrain for drivers, that may not have been the chief cause of the accident. The state patrol says alcohol is considered to have been a contributing factor.
According to Paul Quimby with the Grand Junction Police Department kids fifteen and under are required to wear seatbelts by state law. He says specifically kids between four and six years old and less than 55 inches tall must wear seatbelts with booster seats. For kids under four, weighing less than 40 pounds, a child safety seat is required.
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