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Saturday, December 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

1-year-old survives fatal crash after being ejected in car seat

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 14, 2018

Catherine Howell, the mother of Joy Howell, who was injured in an accident on U.S. Highway 395 that killed her grandmother, shared this collage of images to Facebook with this caption: “This is what a fatal car crash looks like. This is what a car seat looks like after an ejection. It looks just fine, just some scrapes. This is what a baby girl looks like after an ejection while in a car seat, she too was just fine. Some little bumps on her forehead but nothing major. The neck brace was a precaution, and the band on her arm is an IV. Defensive driving and a properly fitted and installed car seat saved Joy’s life. Thank you Graco for your product. We will be throwing away this car seat, but we will replace it with another one of your products. Thank you Mom for looking out for my baby girl at your own expense. I love you more than words can express, I will see you again. Don’t worry mom, Joy is just fine.” (Facebook photo / Catherine Howell)
Catherine Howell, the mother of Joy Howell, who was injured in an accident on U.S. Highway 395 that killed her grandmother, shared this collage of images to Facebook with this caption: “This is what a fatal car crash looks like. This is what a car seat looks like after an ejection. It looks just fine, just some scrapes. This is what a baby girl looks like after an ejection while in a car seat, she too was just fine. Some little bumps on her forehead but nothing major. The neck brace was a precaution, and the band on her arm is an IV. Defensive driving and a properly fitted and installed car seat saved Joy’s life. Thank you Graco for your product. We will be throwing away this car seat, but we will replace it with another one of your products. Thank you Mom for looking out for my baby girl at your own expense. I love you more than words can express, I will see you again. Don’t worry mom, Joy is just fine.” (Facebook photo / Catherine Howell)

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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