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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Condition of infant improves

A Bonners Ferry infant, who was the sole surviving member of her family when an allegedly drunken driver hit their car Friday morning, has been upgraded from critical to serious condition at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The hospital has removed a tube that had been helping Lyssa Saunders breathe, her paternal grandfather, Glen Bartron, said Monday. Her internal bleeding is subsiding, he said, but her head is still swollen from seven skull fractures, Bartron said. Her arm is broken, although the 2-month-old girl can move her fingers.

Both her mother’s and father’s sides of the family are interested in taking care of her and making sure she’s surrounded by loved ones, Bartron said. The families are focusing on getting her healed, he added, and then they will discuss what arrangement would be best for her.

Funeral plans are still pending for Lyssa’s 21-year-old mother, Tabitha C. Saunders, 2-year-old sister, Kjestine Saunders, and 24-year-old father, Bart D. Bartron, who was home on a two-week leave from the U.S. Army.

Luke A. Peterson, 26, was driving a Dodge Quad-Cab pickup south on Highway 95 when he went into the northbound lane and hit the family’s Plymouth Neon head-on around 3:19 a.m., according to the Idaho State Police.

The Naples man faces three counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of aggravated DUI, punishable by up to life in prison. His bail is set at $1 million.

Bartron said he hopes people will learn from this incident to take responsibility for their actions.

“All the ‘sorrys’ in the world can’t take back … an action we’ll regret for the rest of our lives,” he said.