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Baby Killed, Siblings Injured in Van Crash

October 03, 2000|ZANTO PEABODY

A 6-month-old boy was killed Monday when the van in which he was riding rolled over on the Antelope Valley Freeway near Acton, throwing him and three of his siblings from the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The van was driven by the baby's mother, Bertha Valdiva, 37, of Rosamond. It careened from the roadway and turned sharply into the median, CHP Officer Scott Weldy said.

The child was strapped into an infant seat, buckled into a middle seat of the van. He was ejected from the van in the infant seat, which flew off its base, Weldy said. The base was also thrown from the car, but in the opposite direction, he said.

"The big question is how well was the baby belted in and how the base could just fly out," Weldy said. "The [17-year-old] daughter said she buckled the seat. If so, there may have been a defect with the seat."

Valdiva did not know why her vehicle left the road while she was traveling northbound in the inside lane, but the rollover could have resulted from her overcompensating to get back into the driving lane, Weldy said.

Three other children were also injured in the crash, a boy, 4, and two girls, 8 and 13. CHP investigators are trying to determine whether the three children were wearing seat belts, Weldy said. Valdiva and the 17-year-old daughter were belted in the front seat and were not expelled from the van.

The 13-year-old, who suffered head injuries and was not breathing when paramedics arrived, was flown to Antelope Valley Hospital, where she is in critical condition.

The 4- and the 8-year-old were flown by helicopter to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia and later transferred to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The boy is in serious condition, with a skull fracture, a hospital spokesman said. The 8-year-old is listed in fair condition, with facial lacerations.

Valdiva and the oldest daughter were treated for minor injuries and released from Lancaster Community Hospital, Weldy said.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, Weldy said.

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