Texting driver hits minivan, injures 8-year-old girl

March 9, 2011

An 8-year-old girl had to have surgery on her face after the car she was riding in was struck by a driver who was texting last week.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

Dispatch received a call of a rollover accident in the 8000 block of West North Avenue at 3:46 p.m. March 1. A Ford Fusion with loud music playing over the stereo was on its roof facing west in an eastbound lane. Meanwhile, a Toyota minivan was stopped in the middle of the road.

A 26-year-old Milwaukee woman was lying on her stomach in the Ford looking out the frame where the window had been. She was yelling "get me out of here." Worried about potential injuries, the officer told her not to move until paramedics arrived.

The driver denied she had been texting when the accident happened, but a witness said the woman had a phone in front of her face blocking the line of sight. The driver's cell phone was found in the snow with an unfinished text message on the screen.

The striking vehicle passed the witness's vehicle in a hurry and crossed the centerline, colliding with the minivan. The impact caused the Ford to veer onto a snowbank and go air born. The Ford struck a tree and rolled onto its roof. The driver complained of neck pain and had an abrasion on her knee. She was taken to Froedtert Hospital, where she was treated and released.

One young passenger in the vehicle that was struck suffered a more serious injury.

The 44-year-old woman who was driving the minivan, as well as four passengers ages 6 to 15, were standing on a nearby porch after the accident. An 8-year-old girl was in and out of consciousness and was complaining of facial pain, so she was taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She had a broken orbital bone that was causing double vision and hospital staff determined she would need surgery later in the week.

A 13-year-old girl was also taken to the hospital with bumps and bruises and was released later that day.

The driver was cited for texting while driving, driving without insurance and driving with a suspended license due to unpaid parking tickets. She also had a warrant for an arrest under an alias. She said she was on her way to the auto repair shop to get some work done on her Ford when the accident occurred.


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