A 1-year-old girl survived with only bumps and bruises after her car seat was ejected during a fatal crash near Loon Lake.
The crash occurred Monday morning on U.S. Highway 395. According to the Washington State Patrol, the infant’s grandmother, Anna M. Kenney, 50, of Chewelah, had been driving north when she lost control of her Toyota pickup truck, crossed the center line and hit two vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. She was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The infant had been strapped into a plastic safety seat in the back seat of Kenney’s truck, Trooper Jeff Sevigney said Friday.
“The seat didn’t really fit in there right,” Sevigney said.
Kenney’s truck and the other vehicles – another pickup and an SUV – were mangled in the crash.
Somehow, the baby’s car seat was thrown from the wreck and came to rest among debris on the shoulder of the northbound lanes, leaning against a guardrail, Sevigney said. She was uninjured and found by a driver who had not been involved in the crash.
“Pretty miraculous,” Sevigney said.
The baby, Joy Howell, was treated and released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Her mother, Catherine Howell, wrote about the crash in a Facebook post Tuesday and appeared in a KXLY segment on Thursday, holding the smiling child.
“By no means should she have survived the crash, so it’s just a miracle,” Howell told the TV station. “This is by grace of God.”
Howell also thanked Graco, the maker of the car seat that served as her daughter’s protective escape pod.
In another Facebook post, Howell wrote that a funeral for her mother, Kenney, will be held this month at a church in Addy, Washington.
WSP investigators determined Kenney had been driving too fast for the snowy conditions. The other two drivers involved in the crash were injured but not hospitalized.
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