A 4-year-old was killed Monday morning when the car her mother was driving veered off a Northridge street and crashed into a pine tree.
The driver, Cornette Hamilton, 24, of Los Angeles and her 1-year-old daughter were critically injured in the crash, which occurred just after 9 a.m. in the 19800 block of Nordhoff Street near Northridge Fashion Center, authorities said.
The 4-year-old suffered massive head trauma and died at the scene, said Brian Humphrey, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman.
The 1-year-old was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, and Hamilton was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
Los Angeles police investigators said inattention or distraction probably caused the accident.
"There are no skid marks to indicate speed or that the driver was avoiding anybody," Sgt. Steven Dell said. "There was no damage to the car other than the intrusion from the tree, which went all the way into the engine compartment."
The 4-year-old was restrained by a seat belt, but it was not properly used, investigators said.
The belt was tucked under her arm rather than across her chest, and she was not in a child safety seat, which may have contributed to her injuries, investigators said.