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2 girls in crash have 'incredible' recovery

August 21, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

Two Garden Grove sisters appeared to have made a "miraculous recovery" Monday after their family's car was hit from behind by a pickup truck driven by a man suspected of being under the influence of marijuana, authorities said.

"Both are off life support and doing rather well," Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said of Brittany Figueroa, 11, and her sister, Ariana, 6. "Kids bounce back fast, and they did. It's incredible."

The girls were admitted to UCI Medical Center in Orange in critical condition with head injuries after the accident at 6 p.m. Sunday in the eastbound lanes of Katella Avenue at Beach Boulevard in Stanton. They were wearing seat belts in the back seat of a Ford Mustang driven by their father, David Figueroa. Their mother, Joan, was in the front passenger seat.

At the hospital, both girls were placed in medically induced comas. Their parents also had injuries, Amormino said, "and, as you can imagine, are extremely traumatized."

The Figueroas' car was stopped at a red light when it was hit by the truck driven by Joseph Manore, 22, of Garden Grove, authorities said. The impact was so severe that the truck ran up over the trunk and onto the car's back seat. The force also pushed the car forward and sideways, causing it to strike a BMW and another pickup truck.

Manore tested positive for being under the influence of marijuana and was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities said. The results of additional blood tests are pending, he said.

A 47-year-old Buena Park woman driving the BMW was taken to Anaheim Memorial Medical Center with neck injuries, and an 18-year-old driving the pickup was treated at the scene.

As for the children's recovery, Amormino said, it's "miraculous. Considering what they went through and what the car looked like, I think they are extremely lucky."

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