SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – Four children suffered serious injuries when they were ejected from the pickup they were riding in. The pickup was driven by a 54-year-old Cottonwood man who was traveling north on I-5 near Bowman Road when he apparently drifted into the center median, overcorrected and rolled the truck. According to the Record Searchlight, the pickup had seven passengers and those ejected were not wearing seat belts. The injured children were transported to Mercy Medical Center. Because of the seriousness of their injuries, two of the children were subsequently transferred to the University of California Medical Center at Davis, in Sacramento. The injuries included a skull fracture, a spinal cord injury, a fractured pelvis, a fractured arm and internal injuries.
The injured children ranged from 9 to 14 years in age. California law prohibits a driver from transporting a child who is six, but less than 16, upon a highway without properly securing the child with a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code 27360.5(b)). Children are not permitted to ride in the back of pickup trucks. The investigation at this point does not specify where the children were riding, or why they weren’t secured with belts. Alcohol does appear to have been a factor.
This reminds us all that we cannot transport more children than we have seat belts in the car to secure them. Ejection is the main cause of death in vehicle rollover accidents. Seat belts literally save lives in these situations.