Texas officials are investigating whether procedures were followed after a tow truck driver discovered a 3-year-old girl in the back seat of a car that was towed after a major accident.
KTRK reports that a drunk driver rear-ended a car in Odessa, Texas, leaving both cars badly damaged. The Texas Department of Public Safety, Ector County sheriff’s deputies, and Odessa Fire Rescue worked the three-vehicle accident, yet all three agencies somehow managed to miss spotting the 3-year-old girl in the back seat of one of the vehicles.
The toddler was discovered later by the tow truck driver who removed the vehicle from the scene of the accident.
“They found my niece almost four hours later when the wrecker had the car in the lot already. If it wasn’t for my niece that she cried they wouldn’t [have ever] found her,” the toddler’s aunt wrote.
The girl was taken to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, where family members say she suffered brain bleeding as well as partial paralysis. The girl has been discharged to family members.
According to KOSA, family members posted the following status regarding the toddler’s health to their Facebook page: “She’s doing better, she’s [going] to need therapy and rehab, she’s still not responding to her right side. Brain bleeding was [controlled] and blood clots are work in progress more labs in the morning.”
The collision occurred after 28-year-old Ever Ortega allegedly drove drunk and rear-ended the car carrying the toddler. Ortega has been charged with felony intoxication assault leading to bodily injury.
The city of Odessa has launched an internal investigation into whether their own actions during the post-crash investigation were reasonable.
City of Odessa spokesperson Andrea Goodson wrote in a statement:
Responding OFR personnel asked the occupants of the Jeep Grand Cherokee numerous times if there were other individuals in the vehicle. The two occupants stated there were no other passengers in the vehicle. The behavior of the individuals did not lead responding personnel to believe there were other occupants in the vehicle.