Texas Department of Public Safety Corporal Bryan Little says Lucina Gonzales, 30, Newcastle, was headed North on TX Hwy 251 Tuesday when she lost control of her pickup. Gonzales rolled the truck 1 3/4 times before it wound up on its side in a field several miles south of Olney. Gonzales is 7 months pregnant, and her 5-year-old daughter was thrown from the cab.
Both were taken by ambulance to a hospital in Olney, before being air lifted to separate hospitals in Dallas. Both are currently in serious but stable condition.
Troopers feel the crash may have been avoided. They say the probable cause of the crash is Gonzales losing control after turning around to get the 5-year-old to sit back down in the back seat. Little says a child safety seat was found in the wreckage, but it did not appear to be properly secured.
Securing the seats properly is the law, but also what Little stresses is key to safety. "We try to push and strive to get people to understand when you have child safety seat system that you use it and use it properly, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and make sure they are secure.", he said.
Little understands that children may not always stay in the seats. "Children have a tendency to get out of almost anything you put them in, and when that happens you just need to remember to just slow down, come to a stop at a safe place and tend to them there. Going down the road is not the place to get them back into the car seat.", he said.
Current Texas Law requires all children to be in a safety seat until they reach the age of 8 or 4'9" in height. Fines for violating the rule run from $25 for a first offence to $250 for subsequent violations.
To view a DPS publication about the law, click on the link to the upper left
Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6