Wreck Kills Three Little Girls Belted In Back Seat
The tragedy was unspeakable and almost unbearable. Jane Doe had dressed all four girls in their checkered dresses, put bows in their hair and dollar bills in their hands. She was driving them to school because this was field trip day for the kindergarten and the first grade and she was going to chaperone.
As she came over the rise on I-10 in Glen St. Mary she saw a slow-moving truck in the lane ahead of her. Although she slammed on brakes and left 71 feet of skid marks, she still crashed into the rear of the tractor trailer which was going less than 15 m.p.h.
Jane was in her mother's luxury sedan and the air bags inflated. Jane and seven-year-old Sarah in the front seat suffered multiple fractures and had to be life-flighted to University Medical Center.
The children in the back seat were not so lucky. Sarah's little sister, Emily, and her two cousins, Kelli and Kristi, who lived with Jane and her husband John just like their daughters, all had their seatbelts on. But the back seat buckled forward and the seat belts were not designed to protect little girls. Emily, Kelli and Kristi died instantly as a result of internal injuries and blunt trauma.
The trucker could offer no legitimate explanation for his slow speed, but a review of his trip itinerary and falsified logs suggested he might have been pulling back onto the interstate after resting from excessive driving. His small company paid its policy limits after discovery and mediation.
Pajcic & Pajcic recovered a comparable amount on a crashworthiness claim against the car manufacturer. Not only did the back seat buckle forward, but the seat belt restraint system was obviously not designed with little children in mind.
Jane and Sarah are recovering from their injuries. Sarah has a new little brother, Braxton Samuel Doe. Jane does not have to clean houses anymore, but can be a full time mother to Sarah and Braxton. Automobile manufacturers say they are beginning to consider the safety of little people too. Emily, Kelli and Kristi will be remembered forever.